New York: The US attorney in Brooklyn and the FBI have begun a preliminary investigation into the way New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration handled data about Covid-19 nursing home deaths.
After early praise for his leadership when his state became the US epicenter of the pandemic, the governor is now dealing with accusations of underreporting nursing home deaths.
In recent weeks, the administration revealed that 15,000 long-term care residents have died, up from the 8,500 previously disclosed.
The Albany Times Union first reported news of the inquiry.
“As we publicly said, DOJ has been looking into this for months. We have been cooperating with them and we will continue to,” a senior advisor for the governor, Rich Azzopardi, said Wednesday night.
Last month, state Attorney General Letitia James released a damning report that said the state Health Department underreported the Covid-19 death toll at nursing homes by as much as 50 percent.
And last week, Melissa DeRosa, Cuomo’s top aide, said that the state held off on releasing the fuller death count in August because of fears that President Donald Trump would use the information against Cuomo.
On Monday, the governor acknowledged that “things should have been done differently” and insisted that “lessons were learned.”
Democratic and Republican lawmakers in New York are now reported to be reconsidering their decision to grant Cuomo emergency powers to contend with the Covid-19 crisis.