US Lawmaker Wants Data on Nursing Home Deaths Before Governor Cuomo Leaves Office
22:10 GMT 10.08.2021 (Updated: 03:28 GMT 11.08.2021)
© AP Photo / Yuki IwamuraCVS Pharmacists bring the COVID-19 vaccine for the nursing home residents at Harlem Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, a nursing home facility, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021 in Harlem neighborhood of New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)
© AP Photo / Yuki Iwamura
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who announced his resignation over sexual harassment allegations, needs to end the coverup of nursing home deaths due to a misguided order early in the pandemic by publicly releasing data before he leaves office, US House Republican Whip Steve Scalise said on Tuesday.
"Now that he is finally resigning, it is long overdue for Governor Cuomo to end the coverup and be transparent by releasing the data from his deadly mandate that nursing homes take COVID-19-positive patients, which led to the untimely deaths of thousands of seniors. All those families who lost loved ones deserve answers and the ability to seek closure," Scalise said in a press release.
Earlier on Tuesday, Cuomo announced his resignation, likely bypassing an impeachment probe by the New York legislature based on an independent report commissioned by state Attorney General Letitia James charging the three-term governor with sexually harassing 11 women. Lawmakers were also examining charges that a Cuomo order requiring nursing homes to admit coronavirus-positive patients resulted in thousands of deaths, according to media reports.
"If Governor Cuomo refuses to release this data, then Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul must do the right thing and end the coverup by making this nursing home information public when she takes the oath as governor. Grieving families across the Empire State deserve answers about the real reason why so many seniors died of COVID-19 in nursing homes and long-term care facilities," Scalise said.
The release included a timeline of the state’s nursing home scandal, beginning with a March 2020 Cuomo order that sent thousands of coronavirus-positive patients back to senior-care facilities after their discharge from hospitals.
A report by James’ office in January 2021 charged the governor’s office with understating nursing home deaths by about 50 percent, and said Cuomo’s order "[may] have contributed to increased risk or nursing home resident infection, and subsequent fatalities" the release said.
By that time, over 15,000 seniors had died in New York state nursing homes, according to the release.