(Headline USA) The New York comptroller confirmed this week that disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, undercounted the number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes in the early days of the pandemic.
An audit from State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the findings of which were released this week, revealed that top state officials, including Cuomo, knowingly misled the public about the effects of his policy forcing COVID-positive patients into long-term care facilities. Cuomo’s administration understated COVID deaths in these facilities by at least 4,100, and, at times, by more than 50%, DiNapoli said.
“Our audit findings are troubling and demonstrate missed opportunities to protect nursing home residents,” he added.
The pandemic was devastating and deadly for New Yorkers in nursing homes. Our audit findings are troubling and demonstrate missed opportunities to protect nursing home residents. https://t.co/Wy9OX73SX1
— Tom DiNapoli (@NYSComptroller) March 15, 2022
DiNapoli revealed that the state’s Department of Health, under Cuomo’s direction, was “slow to respond to a federal directive to conduct surveys of nursing homes for infection control problems,” and stonewalled auditors by imposing “impediments on the audit, including delaying requested data, limiting auditors’ contact with program staff, not addressing auditors’ questions during meetings, and not providing supporting documentation.”
“These are not routine actions by state agencies undergoing an Office of the State Comptroller audit and raise serious concerns about the control environment at DOH,” the report said.
Through a spokesperson, Cuomo dismissed the audit’s findings as irrelevant.
“As the number of out of facility deaths were reported last January, this is not news. However, what is peculiar is the Comptroller’s release of this audit now — but no one has ever accused him of being above politics,” the spokesperson said.
Democrat state Assemblyman Ron Kim said DiNapoli’s findings were unsurprising given Cuomo’s “pure egotism” and “self-enrichment.”
“Cuomo suppressed and covered up life-and-death data while pursuing a multi-million dollar book deal. … His actions were never about protecting our most vulnerable, they were about pure egotism and self-enrichment at the cost of others’ lives,” he said in a statement.