New York Gov Cuomo’s top aide admits they HID data on COVID deaths in nursing homes amid fears that stats would be used against them in DOJ investigation as it’s revealed 9K hospital patients were sent to nursing facilities – 40% higher than released
- Melissa DeRosa admitted they had hidden the COVID numbers in a Thursday call
- State Democrats in August asked for the exact figures for nursing home deaths
- DeRosa, 38, said at the same time the Trump administration was looking at them
- Trump ‘directs the Department of Justice to do an investigation into us,’ she said
- ‘And basically, we froze’ and kept the information secret for five more months
- It emerged last month the overall number of COVID deaths among long-term care residents is nearly 15,000 – up from the 8,500 previously disclosed
- It emerged on Thursday that more than 9,000 recovering COVID patients were sent back into nursing homes – 40 per cent more than Cuomo previously said
Andrew Cuomo‘s top aide has admitted that their administration ‘froze’ in August when asked for data detailing COVID-19 deaths among nursing home patients, and failed to provide the requested information.
In a remarkable confession made during a conference call with New York state Democrats, obtained by The New York Post, DeRosa asked for understanding from their critics.
Her mea culpa came shortly before the Associated Press published new detail into how many patients recovering from COVID were sent back into nursing homes. They found more than 9,000 readmittances – a figure 40 per cent higher than official data.
In January, the AP reported that the death toll from COVID among nursing home patients was 15,000 – an increase almost 50 per cent higher than the official statistics.
Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes during the pandemic is under intense scrutiny.
Melissa DeRosa (left), secretary to Andrew Cuomo (right), admitted that they ‘froze’
Ambulance workers collect an elderly man from Cobble Hill Health Center in Brooklyn, which registered an alarming number of COVID-19 deaths. Cuomo has been criticized for his policy
On March 25 he ordered nursing homes to readmit COVID-positive patients, due to concerns about space in hospitals. He later reversed the ruling, but critics insist that his policy – which saw 9,000 people readmitted to their care homes – cost thousands of lives.
DeRosa, 38, is seen as Cuomo’s right-hand
Cuomo has been repeatedly asked for more details, for months, but has dodged the questions.
Last month it emerged that 15,000 people in nursing homes had died of COVID-19 – a huge increase on the official figure of 8,500.
On February 3, a New York state Supreme Court judge, Justice Kimberly O’Connor, ruled that Cuomo has five business days to respond to a FOIL request to release data on COVID-19 in nursing homes.
The lawsuit was filed by Senator Jim Tedisco and the Empire Center for Public Policy, and O’Connor in her ruling was critical of the Department of Health for stalling on reporting nursing home data for several months.
In the call on Thursday, DeRosa admitted they deliberately hid the data, after the Trump administration began asking questions.
State Democrats asked for the data in August, ‘right around the same time, [then-President Donald Trump] turns this into a giant political football,’ she said.
‘He starts tweeting that we killed everyone in nursing homes,’ DeRosa said.
‘He starts going after [New Jersey Gov. Phil] Murphy, starts going after [California Gov. Gavin] Newsom, starts going after [Michigan Gov.] Gretchen Whitmer.’
DeRosa admitted in the Thursday call that, in the spotlight, the Cuomo government ‘froze’
Trump, also, she said, ‘directs the Department of Justice to do an investigation into us.’
‘And basically, we froze.
‘Because then we were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice, or what we give to you guys, what we start saying, was going to be used against us while we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation.
‘That played a very large role into this.’
DeRosa then asked for ‘a little bit of appreciation of the context’.