Feb 16, 2021 - Health

Cuomo defends data release delay on COVID deaths in New York nursing homes

Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, speaks during a news conference in New York, U.S., on Monday, Oct. 5
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Monday he took responsibility for his administration's delay in releasing data of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes and admitted it "created pain," but added "nothing was hidden from anyone."

Why it matters: Some state lawmakers are looking to repeal the governor's emergency powers amid allegations of a cover-up over the data.

  • Democratic N.Y. State Sen. John Liu told Fox News Monday lawmakers were looking to "inspire public confidence" and the nursing home revelations "don't add to the confidence."

Driving the news: The New York Post last week obtained leaked audio of a Cuomo aide saying his administration had rejected a request for nursing homes data on coronavirus deaths because it could "be used against us" by federal investigators encouraged by then-President Trump.

What he's saying: Cuomo acknowledged during a briefing that the data delay created a "void" that was "filled with skepticism, cynicism and conspiracy theories, which furthered confusion."

  • "In retrospect, should we have given more priority to fulfilling information requests? In my opinion, yes, and I think that’s what created the void," the third-term governor said.
  • "But do I understand the pressure everyone was under? Yes."

For the record: New York's Democratic Attorney General Letitia James released a report last month accusing Cuomo's administration of undercounting COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes by up to 50%.

  • Asked by a reporter at the briefing whether an investigation into his administration's handling of the pandemic would "clear the air," Cuomo said: "I don't think there is anything to clear here."
  • "It is a fact that the state legislature did a request, we told them we were not going to address the request at that time, that we were going to honor the DOJ request first," he added. "We said that ― that's a fact. There’s nothing to investigate there."

Of note: State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, who's among the 14 N.Y. Democratic lawmakers seeking to repeal the governor's powers, rejected Cuomo's claims:

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