On March 5th, New York Health Department (NYHD) officials confirmed that Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) had ordered his COVID-19 Task Force to alter and destroy parts of a report showing the true number of deaths tied to Cuomo’s COVID nursing home plans.
Scandal and outrage polluted the reputation of Governor Cuomo, as reports emerged of the governor’s “Winter Plan.” Cuomo’s “Winter Plan” forced the relocation of COVID-19 patients to nursing homes and elderly housing facilities, due to the lack of availability of hospital beds. This relocation of COVID patients to elderly housing facilities led to nearly 9,250 people dying as a result. It’s also been revealed that the shortage of available hospital facilities was a result of Governor Cuomo’s refusal to buy new resources and build stockpile facilities to treat new cases, instead relying on legislative restrictions on individuals to stop the initial spread.
The NYHD recently confirmed that Cuomo destroyed and altered records of: (1) forced relocations, (2) the deaths that resulted, (3) total number of Covid-19 deaths, and (4) the number of available resources for Covid treatment. Governor Cuomo and his NY COVID task force have since claimed that their actions were not “obstruction,” but instead were “changes made because of concerns about the data’s accuracy.” Cuomo’s health department spokesman, Gary Holmes, expanded upon this claim, saying, “While early versions of the report included out-of-facility deaths, the Covid taskforce was not satisfied that the data had been verified against hospital data and so the final report used only data for in facility deaths, which was disclosed in the report.”
Cuomo himself neither confirmed nor denied his involvement in the alteration of the report. The White House has since responded to the scandal, as Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said that the White House would and will support any federal investigation of the crimes committed. When both Democrats and Republicans rallied for Governor Cuomo’s resignation, he refused. Furthermore, Cuomo even defended his position, claiming that he only altered evidence out of fears that the Trump Administration might use the actions to engage in an investigation into the governor’s handling of the pandemic in facilities for the elderly.
As a result of the allegations, New York State legislators have recently proposed a bill to strip Cuomo of his emergency powers that allowed him to implement such a plan, granted to him at the beginning of the pandemic. The bill has not been voted on yet. As well, the New York Times has named three accomplices of Cuomo who aided his obstruction of state reports: Melissa DeRosa, the governor’s chief aide; Linda Lacewell, the head of the state’s department of financial services; and Jim Malatras, a former top adviser of the governor. The New York Times also reported that “none had public health expertise.”
While an investigation of the events that unfolded and currently encompass this scandal has not been conducted, the recent emergence of new information teaches much. It’s been inferred that Cuomo was concerned with the statistics that made it look like he was “stopping the spread” instead of actually keeping his people safe. Many Americansn— especially New Yorkers — have been left feeling betrayed by the coverup; many feel as if their governor’s loyalties lie in the preservation of his own reputation instead of the preservation of the lives of the people.
ARTICLE: CARSON WOLF
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: TIMES UNION