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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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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:

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

Insurers are rejecting many workers' compensation claims related to COVID-19

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Many people who have filed workers' compensation claims following COVID-19 infections are being denied, a Wall Street Journal analysis of state data shows.

Why it matters: Rejected claims from office employees, front-line workers, and airline staff suggest that it's hard to prove where an infection occurred and that returning to the workplace prior to widespread vaccination could present more danger — and less of a safety net — than previously thought.

Feb 15, 2021 - Health

WSJ: 32 million rapid coronavirus tests go unused

Park County Health Department Director Alex Baukus uses the Abbot BinaxNOW rapid COVID-19 test in Livingston, Montana on Dec. 7. Photo: William Campbell/Getty Images

32 million of 142 million rapid coronavirus tests distributed to states by the federal government have gone unused as of early February, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Health officials and researchers have found that widespread testing is necessary to control cases, that COVID-19 testing can save lives as an early positive test leads people to self-isolate, and that more tests performed relative to a country's caseload is linked with reducing virus transmission rates.

Fauci: Americans shouldn't let down their guard about virus variants

President Biden's chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, tells "Axios on HBO" that despite the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines, emerging variants could pose a "stumbling block" and Americans shouldn't become complacent.

Driving the news: The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases also shared his thoughts on contemplating his own mortality, working with Biden, and talking to teachers about returning to school before everyone's been vaccinated.