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Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) released a statement on Friday calling for a "full investigation" into New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes.

Why it matters: Cuomo's handling of nursing home deaths has been under scrutiny for months, but the backlash has become increasingly bipartisan after audio leaked of a top Cuomo aide saying a Democratic request for nursing homes data was rejected because the administration feared it could "be used against us" by federal investigators.

The big picture: The results of an investigation released last month by New York Attorney General Letitia James, also a Democrat, found that the Cuomo administration undercounted deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50%.

  • Cuomo has dismissed any assertion of wrongdoing. New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim (D) claimed this week that Cuomo threatened to "destroy" him over comments he made about the widening scandal.
  • The FBI and U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn are reportedly investigating the administration's handling of nursing homes.

What they're saying: "I support our state’s return to co-equal governance and stand with our local officials calling for a full investigation of the Cuomo administration’s handling of nursing homes during COVID-19," Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive who has clashed with the moderate Cuomo in the past, said in a statement.

  • "Thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers lost their lives in nursing homes throughout the pandemic."
  • "Their loved ones and the public deserve answers and transparency from their election leadership, and the Secretary to the Governor’s remarks warrant a full investigation."

Go deeper

Updated 18 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: First known U.S. case of Omicron variant identified in California — America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron — CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers.
  2. Politics: Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come — Meta removes accounts linked to COVID disinformation effort by China.
  3. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  4. World: Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people — Omicron variant detected in more countriesWHO advises people 60 or older to postpone travel due to Omicron
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Feb 19, 2021 - World

U.S. commits $4 billion to COVAX vaccine initiative

Biden. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty

The U.S. is committing $2 billion for the global COVAX vaccine initiative within days (using funds already allocated by Congress), plus an additional $2 billion over the next two years, the White House announced ahead of Friday's virtual G7 summit.

Why it matters: Senior administration officials told reporters Thursday evening that they'll use those commitments to "call on G7 partners Friday both to make good on the pledges that are already out there" and to make further investments in global vaccine manufacturing and distribution.

Feb 19, 2021 - Health

Texas hospitals evacuate patients, conserve resources amid outages

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The deadly winter storm in Texas has bombarded hospitals throughout the state.

Why it matters: Doctors have been working to conserve resources, pause non-emergency surgeries, evacuate patients and push back coronavirus vaccine shots.