Not only is New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo knee deep in a sexual harassment scandal that includes three women claiming that the embattled old man was mad inappropriate, but now a scathing report by the New York Times claims that Cuomo’s aides altered a state Health Department report to obscure the actual number of state nursing home residents who died by COVID-19.
According to the Times, Cuomo’s most senior aides, including his top aide, Melissa DeRosa, rewrote a July report so that only the residents who died inside the nursing home were counted towards COVID-19 deaths. The report excluded those who got sick inside long-term care facilities and died later at the hospital.
Gov. Cuomo’s office responded to the Times, noting that “The out of facility data was omitted after DOH could not confirm it had been adequately verified,” the Associated Press reports.
From the Associated Press:
Beth Garvey, special counsel and senior advisor to the governor added, “this did not change the conclusion of the report, which was and is that the March 25 order was ‘not a driver of nursing home infections or fatalities.’ COVID Task Force officials did not request that the report conclude the March 25 order played no role; in fact Task Force Members, knowing the report needed to withstand rigorous public scrutiny, were very cautious to not overstate the statistical analysis presented in the report. Overall, ensuring public confidence in the conclusion was the ultimate goal of DOH and the COVID Task Force in issuing the report.”
The report was designed and released to rebut criticism of Cuomo over a March 25 directive that barred nursing homes from rejecting recovering coronavirus patients being discharged from hospitals. Some nursing homes complained at the time that the policy could help spread the virus.
The report concluded the policy played no role in spreading infection.
The state’s analysis was based partly on what officials acknowledged at the time was an imprecise statistic. The report said 6,432 people had died in the state’s nursing homes.
State officials acknowledged that the true number of deaths was higher because of the exclusion of patients who died in hospitals, but they declined at the time to give any estimate of that larger number of deaths, saying the numbers still needed to be verified.
But here’s the catch: the original draft did include the number of deaths–which was more than 9,200–and Cuomo’s aides asked that the number be taken out. State officials swear that the move was about accuracy, which is exactly what I would tell my mother when I didn’t have my report card: “I’m just making sure these grades are accurate, so until then, I have all A’s.”
“While early versions of the report included out of facility deaths, the COVID task force 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,” Department of Health Spokesperson Gary Holmes, told the Associated Press.
That sounds like bullshit to me considering that scientists, healthcare professionals and elected officials at the time called the report some caca, noting its flawed methodology and selective stats.
Cuomo wouldn’t release complete data on how COVID-19 had devastated nursing homes, and a court order and attorney general report had to note that the state’s nursing home death rates were higher than what was previously released to the public.
“Basically, we froze, because then we were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice or what we give to you guys, what we start saying was going to be used against us while we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation,” DeRosa told lawmakers earlier this month, AP reports.
In total, some “15,000 long-term care residents died, compared to a figure of 8,700 it had publicized as of late January that didn’t include residents who died after being transferred to hospitals,” AP reports.
It doesn’t help Cuomo that on Thursday, Charlotte Bennett, one of the women accusing 63-year-old of sexual harassment, spoke with CBS Evening News and claimed that Cuomo made inappropriate comments, including asking if a sexual assault in her past had an effect on her sex life. The 25-year-old noted that Cuomo stated that any woman over 22 years old was fine with him as his old ass was looking for a girlfriend and then wanted to know about her sexual relationships, CBS News reports.
Bennett, who worked as the governor’s executive assistant and a health policy adviser, said that Cuomo asked multiple questions that led her to the conclusion that “The governor’s trying to sleep with me.”
“Without explicitly saying it, he implied to me that I was old enough for him and he was lonely,” she said.
Yeah, fuck this guy.