According to a state comptroller’s audit issued on Tuesday, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration failed to publicly account for around 4,100 nursing home deaths throughout the pandemic. From April 2020 to February 2021, Health Department staff underreported the total number of deaths by up to 50%, the audit revealed.
According to the 41-page assessment, Cuomo and his senior officials frequently accepted the narrative that the Health Department assented to, sometimes failing to meet their ethical and moral obligations to behave transparently.
As reported by Fox News, speaking on behalf of Governor Cuomo, Rich Azzopardi suggested that the audit’s release was motivated by politics. Cuomo was severely criticized throughout his time in office for his treatment of nursing home deaths, which the Manhattan District Attorney’s office stated earlier this year that it would not criminally charge.
Officials from the Department of Health did not provide auditors with a breakdown by name of the nursing home residents who died as a result of Covid, according to the office of state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, and the exact number of nursing home residents who died is still unknown.
Cuomo administration’s nursing home death toll
During the worst of the pandemic, the Cuomo administration only included deaths in nursing homes in its death toll, leaving out those who died in hospitals. As a result, Cuomo was able to claim that New York had done better than other states in terms of nursing home deaths by inflating the figures.
According to the New York Times, politicians on the other side of the aisle might exploit the increased death toll to argue that Cuomo’s earlier coronavirus regulations had contributed to more deaths in nursing homes. At the time, Cuomo contended that the state’s overall coronavirus death toll included residents who died in hospitals, even if they weren’t included in the nursing home mortality counts.
Even after correcting most inaccuracies by May 2020, when the pandemic appeared to be nearing an end, the administration remained silent about the true death toll, as per the comptroller’s office.