New York Governor Kathy Hochul, who took office after Andrew Cuomo‘s resignation, came clean on the actual number of COVID-19 deaths and added 12,000 deaths to those released by the outgoing governor.
This Wednesday, August 25, Hochul reported that nearly 55,400 people have died from COVID-19 in New York, according to death certificate data submitted to the CDC, compared to the 43,400 Cuomo had reported to the public as of Monday, his last day in office.
“We’re now releasing more data than had been released before publicly, so people know the nursing home deaths and the hospital deaths are consistent with what’s being displayed by the CDC,” Hochul said on MSNBC.
“There’s a lot of things that weren’t happening and I’m going to make them happen. Transparency will be the hallmark of my administration,” she said.
Cuomo Lowered COVID Deaths Figures
The tally Cuomo used in his media briefings included only lab-confirmed COVID-19 deaths reported through a state system that collects data from hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities.
This meant it excluded people who died at home, in hospice, in state prisons or in state-run homes for people living with disabilities.
“As of yesterday, we’re using CDC numbers, which will be consistent. And so there’s no opportunity for us to mask those numbers, nor do I want to mask those numbers. The public deserves a clear, honest picture of what’s happening. And that’s whether it’s good or bad, they need to know the truth. And that’s how we restore confidence,” the governor said.
Critics of Cuomo had accused him of manipulating coronavirus statistics to burnish his image as the leader of a pandemic. In fact, federal prosecutors launched an investigation into the deaths of nursing home patients.
Prosecutor Letitia James went so far as to claim that Cuomo concealed the true number, and in her report also noted that he pressured the Department of Health to manipulate the actual number of elderly nursing home deaths.
For its part, the state Assembly Judiciary Committee has also been investigating that issue as part of a wide-ranging impeachment inquiry, and is weighing including those findings in a public report.