Numerous senior officials have recently departed New York state’s Health Department. What exactly did they know before deciding to stop working for Gov. Andrew Cuomo? Empire State citizens deserve an answer and federal law enforcement ought to be interested as well.
The New York Post’s Bernadette Hogan, Carl Campanile and Bruce Golding break the story of an appalling abuse of power:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top aide privately apologized to Democratic lawmakers for withholding the state’s nursing home death toll from COVID-19 — telling them “we froze” out of fear that the true numbers would “be used against us” by federal prosecutors, The Post has learned.
The stunning admission of a coverup was made by secretary to the governor Melissa DeRosa during a video conference call with state Democratic leaders in which she said the Cuomo administration had rebuffed a legislative request for the tally in August because “right around the same time, [then-President Donald Trump] turns this into a giant political football,” according to an audio recording of the two-hour-plus meeting…
“And basically, we froze,” she told the lawmakers on the call… But instead of a mea culpa to the grieving family members of more than 13,000 dead seniors or the critics who say the Health Department spread COVID-19 in the care facilities with a March 25 state Health Department directive that nursing homes admit infected patients, DeRosa tried to make amends with the fellow Democrats for the political inconvenience it caused them.
“So we do apologize,” she said. “I do understand the position that you were put in. I know that it is not fair. It was not our intention to put you in that political position with the Republicans.”
Ms. DeRosa is now claiming that Team Cuomo was cooperative and transparent in sharing information with the U.S. Department of Justice. But New York’s failure to publicly acknowledge its nursing home death toll and prioritize the protection of the elderly—the state instead inflicted broad, destructive lockdowns on the general population—had consequences far beyond New York. The state was an early virus hot spot and its false data presented a misleading picture of Covid impact as scientists and policy makers sought to understand the new health threat.
In the wake of the Post report, Jesse McKinley and Luis Ferré-Sadurní of the New York Times note:
The disclosures have left Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, scrambling to contain the political fallout, as lawmakers of both parties call for censure, including stripping the governor of his emergency powers during the pandemic, federal and state investigations and resignations of Ms. DeRosa and other top officials.
One wonders how long the truth about nursing home deaths might have remained hidden if a few stout-hearted contrarians like Janice Dean of Fox News, the Albany Times-Union newspaper and the Empire Center think tank had not diligently challenged the official story.
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