Governor Andrew Cuomo’s top aide admitted that they hid the true numbers of deceased seniors in nursing homes “for fear that federal prosecutors would use them against us.”
A New York Post report revealed that Melissa DeRosa, the governor’s secretary, privately apologized to Democratic lawmakers during a video conference. The statements were leaked in an audio of the meeting that lasted more than two hours.
DeRosa said that last August the Cuomo Administration had rejected a legislative request for a recount because “at about the same time, then-President Donald Trump was turning the situation into a giant political soccer.”
The excuse for lying about the number of deceased seniors was that Trump could have used it to his advantage by “tweeting messages.”
In addition to attacking Cuomo’s fellow Democratic governors, DeRosa said, Trump “orders the Justice Department to do an investigation on us (…) and basically, we froze,” she told lawmakers on the call.
“So we apologize,” she said. “I understand the position we put them in. I know it’s not fair. It wasn’t our intention to put them in that political position with the Republicans,” she said.
According to the New York Post, New York Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) immediately rejected DeRosa’s expression of remorse. “I don’t have enough time today to explain all the reasons why I don’t give any credence to that,” said Gottfried, one of the lawmakers who demanded the August death toll data.
State Senate Aging Committee Chairwoman Rachel May (D-Syracuse) also criticized DeRosa: “And the problem for me, the biggest problem of all is feeling like I needed to defend, or at least not attack, an administration that seemed to be covering something up,” she said.
Recently, New York Senate Democrats blocked GOP efforts to subpoena governor Andrew Cuomo for manipulating figures on elderly deaths in state nursing homes.
Cuomo forced to come clean on numbers after Attorney General’s report
Following an Attorney General’s report that showed Andrew Cuomo downplayed the pandemic’s deadly impact on nursing homes, the health commissioner was forced to reveal a new number that was 56% (4,200) higher than the initial figure.
The 76-page report, released by the Attorney General, records a study of nursing homes that found consistent discrepancies between deaths reported to the Attorney General’s investigators and those officially released by the state Department of Health (DOH).
Dr. Howard Zucker released figures that put the count of confirmed and suspected deaths in both nursing homes and hospitals at 12,743 as of January 19th, just short of the 13,000 claimed in the DA’s report.
Prior to Zucker’s reluctant announcement, the official count of nursing home deaths by COVID-19 included only residents who actually died there, and not those who died in a hospital.
At the time, the authorities’ claim was that those missing deaths occurred when the evidence was supposedly thin and lacked evidence that they were caused by COVID-19.