A Democratic state senator in New York called for a full investigation into New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of data on coronavirus cases in nursing homes, saying that he and his administration “knowingly chose to lie” about the spread of the virus in those facilities.
Jessica Ramos, who represents a district in Queens, said in a blistering statement on Friday that Cuomo “has allowed his ego and his donor base to dictate the response to this pandemic.”
Ramos and other Democratic lawmakers in New York called for Cuomo to be stripped of emergency powers he gained in the early days of the pandemic. Ramos also called for a “full investigation” into the administration’s handling of nursing home data.
The Associated Press reported on Thursday that Cuomo’s administration underreported virus-related deaths in nursing homes by as much as 40%. A top Cuomo aide, Melissa deRosa, also told state lawmakers in a closed-door meeting that the state withheld nursing home data out of concerns about an investigation by the Trump Justice Department.
.@NYGovCuomo and his administration knowingly chose to lie & play politics with NYers’ lives. His emergency powers must be rescinded, he & his admin must be subpoenaed, and a full investigation must result in justice for our grieving families.
See my full statement below: pic.twitter.com/DXfi45j6K6
— Jessica Ramos (@jessicaramos) February 12, 2021
Cuomo enacted a controversial policy on March 25 that required hospitals to send nursing home patients back to their facilities even if they tested positive for coronavirus.
Cuomo has bristled at allegations that the policy was responsible for increased cases and fatalities in nursing homes. During the height of the pandemic last year, Cuomo frequently bragged about New York’s relatively low rate of nursing home fatalities compared to other states.
New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, released a report last month that found that the department of health underreported coronavirus cases in nursing homes by as much as 50%.
Cuomo has tapped corporate consultants and a lobbyist for New York’s largest hospital system to help develop the state’s pandemic response. The New York Times reported last month that Boston Consulting, Deloitte, and the top lobbyist for Northwell Health have advised the administration on the distribution of coronavirus vaccines.
“At a time when we need New Yorkers to trust their elected officials the most, the Governor and his administration knowingly chose to lie and play politics with New Yorkers’ lives,” Ramos said in her statement.
“This news is another slap in the face to many New Yorkers still grieving the loss of their loved ones across our state.”