New Yorkers have given Governor Andrew Cuomo a negative rating on COVID-19 deaths in the state’s nursing homes after allegations emerged that his administration had been hiding the true number of fatalities.
According to a survey published by Siena College Research Institute on Tuesday, 55 percent of New Yorkers disapprove of Cuomo’s performance in making public data about COVID deaths of nursing home patients.
A further 39 percent said they approved, and the remainder had no opinion.
The governor’s approval rating also dropped by two percent in the last month to 61 percent.
It comes as GOP New York City councilman Joe Borelli has claimed that Cuomo would be doing the state a ‘favor by resigning or announcing that he won’t seek re-election’.
The survey had questioned 804 New York State registered voters between February 7 and February 11 and was cut off before the most recent round of news coverage on Cuomo and nursing homes.
New Yorkers have given Governor Andrew Cuomo a negative rating on COVID-19 deaths in the state’s nursing homes, according to a survey from Siena College on Tuesday
According to a survey published by Siena College Research Institute on Tuesday, in total 55 percent of New Yorkers disapprove (say was poor or fair) of Cuomo’s performance in making public data about COVID deaths of nursing home patients, as pictured above
It comes after allegations emerged that his administration had been hiding the true number of fatalities. Pictured, a patient is wheeled into an NYC health center in April 2020
That same day, the governor had been hit with another wave of backlash after the New York Post reported that Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa told state Democrats in a video conference call that the administration had feared COVID-19 deaths in nursing home could ‘be used against us’ as the Justice Department investigates New York and three other states.
However, the survey was conducted after a January report from Democratic state Attorney General Letitia James which examined the administration’s failure to tally nursing home residents’ deaths at hospitals.
After the report’s publication, the state finally acknowledged the total number of long-term care residents’ deaths is nearly 15,000, up from the 8,500 previously disclosed.
It also came after a Freedom of Information request showed that more than 9,000 recovering coronavirus patients in New York were released from hospitals into nursing homes in the pandemic’s early months.
This was more than 40 percent higher than the state had said previously because it wasn’t counting residents who returned from hospitals to homes where they already had lived.
While the survey on Cuomo’s performance remained generally positive, the nursing homes issue stuck out as the point on which Democrats, Republicans, and independents were unhappy with how he conducted his response.
‘When it comes to making public the data about the deaths of nursing home patients – the issue on which voters most harshly grade Cuomo – he only gets approval from 54 percent of Democrats, while 81 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of independents give him negative grades,’ said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg.
Cuomo was given a fail from New Yorkers for the nursing home scandal, the vaccine distribution and his handling of the reopening of the state in the Siena College survey
Cuomo’s favorability grew during the pandemic but is dropping amid the scandal
The survey from Siena College asked about different aspects of handling the pandemic
‘New York City voters are closely divided but downstate suburbanites and upstaters give Cuomo negative grades,’ he added.
In total, 34 percent of New Yorkers believe Cuomo has done a poor job on the issue, while 21 percent said it was fair.
Only 15 percent thought his handling of the issue was excellent and 24 percent thought it was good.
His ratings also dipped slightly in other areas of his handling of the pandemic, but it still remains favorable, especially among Democrats.
His approval rating in terms of handling the pandemic in general dropped two points to 61 percent from last month.
He also received 67 percent approval om his communication and 61 percent approval for providing accurate information.
It comes after the governor won an Emmy for his press briefings during the height of the pandemic.
Cuomo received 67 percent approval om his communication and 61 percent approval for providing accurate information. It comes after the governor won an Emmy for his press briefings during the height of the pandemic (pictured above on Monday)
Yet his vaccine rollout is also facing some criticism, getting mixed grades from Democrats who have stuck with him through all else to bring down his rating.
Only 48 percent pf New Yorkers give a thumbs up to his handling of the jab distribution while 49 percent disapprove.
‘Voters – especially Democrats – continue to give Cuomo strong marks for his overall handling of the pandemic,’ Greenberg said.
Cuomo’s pandemic: A timeline of the governor’s response to the COVID-19 crisis
MARCH 1: Female nurse, 39, returning from Iran becomes the first in New York to test positive for COVID-19.
MARCH 2: Cuomo gives the first of 111 consecutive daily televised briefings for New Yorkers
MARCH 13: Donald Trump declares national emergency.
MARCH 14: An 82-year-old woman with emphysema is announced as the first patient to die from the virus.
MARCH 17: New York City mayor Bill de Blasio says city should follow San Francisco with a shelter-in-place order; Cuomo says it will be statewide: ‘As a matter of fact, I’m going so far that I don’t even think you can do a statewide policy.’
MARCH 19: California Governor Gavin Newsom issues first statewide lockdown order
MARCH 22: Cuomo signs statewide stay-at-home order.
MARCH 25: Cuomo orders that nursing homes accept convalescent COVID patients back into their facilities.
MAY 10: The nursing home ruling is reversed, to insist on a negative COVID test before return to a nursing home. By now, more than 9,000 people have returned to nursing homes.
AUGUST: Questions begin to be asked about the nursing home policy.
AUGUST 26: Department of Justice opens an investigation into New York’s nursing homes and COVID policy.
OCTOBER 13: Cuomo publishes American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.
OCTOBER 21: Cuomo announced a policy of isolating identified ‘micro clusters’ of COVID cases.
NOVEMBER 20: Cuomo wins an Emmy ‘in recognition of his leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic and his masterful use of television to inform and calm people around the world’.
JANUARY 28: Attorney General Letitia James released a report finding that New York under-reported the number of deaths among nursing home patients by around 50 per cent, with 15,000 actually dying – not the 8,500 reported.
FEBRUARY 11: Melissa DeRosa, Cuomo’s secretary, admits that in August they ‘froze’ when asked for nursing home data, and dragged their heels on releasing it. The AP reports that more than 9,000 people were returned to nursing homes to recover from COVID in the period March 25-May 10, a figure 40 per cent higher than the official tally.
‘He gets a positive rating from 83 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of independents. However, 72 percent of Republicans give him a negative grade’
Siena College said that 48 percent of the voters they surveyed were Democrats, 21 percent were Republican and 27 percent were independent.
Of those who answered the survey, 41 percent were residents of New York City, 25 percent in the suburbs and 34 percent upstate.
‘Similarly, he gets overwhelmingly positive grades from Democrats, positive grades from independents and strongly negative grades from Republicans for communicating with New Yorkers and providing accurate information during the pandemic,’ Greenberg added.
‘While Democrats are positive about Cuomo’s handling of the vaccine rollout and his plans to reopen New York, Republicans are overwhelming negative, and independents are negative as well’.
And while Councilman Borelli has claimed that Cuomo is getting close to the end of his tenure as New York governor, as per the Siena survey, many New Yorkers don’t agree.
Borelli had appeared on Fox News on Tuesday as Democrats also began to join the backlash against Cuomo.
‘It’s just shameful, I mean, the only reason we’re even talking about this right now is because the state’s Democratic attorney general did her own investigation and found out that the governor had been completely untruthful the entire time,’ Borelli told ‘America Reports.’
He claimed that what ‘really bothers New Yorkers above everything is Cuomo’s stark arrogance’.
‘Whether it be the book or the posters of himself, the Emmy, the morning news shows, you know, all of this just to find out later on that most of what he was doing was covering up for mistakes that he himself ordered and won’t take responsibility for,’ he said.
‘That beyond everything is what really troubles a majority of New Yorkers’.
According to the survey, Cuomo’s favorability rating dropped by only one point to 56 percent from January, even after James’ bombshell nursing home report.
His job performance approval fell slightly more from 56 percent to 51 percent, yet 46 percent of voters said they are still ready to reelect him if he runs again in 2022.
Another 45 percent told the survey that they would prefer someone else.
‘While Cuomo remains popular and gets strong ratings across the board from Democrats, independents are closely divided on their feelings toward Cuomo,’ Greenberg explained.
‘Republicans, who had shown Cuomo some love early in the pandemic last spring, are now overwhelmingly negative in their views on Cuomo.’
Yet even Democrats appeared to be abandoning Cuomo from Monday after he remained unapologetic during a press conference.
He stayed defiant as he claimed that a ‘toxic political environment’ is to blame for the backlash he has received over the nursing home scandal.
He also slammed ‘conspiracy theories’ and said that his March order on nursing homes was the subject of ‘distortion’ and not responsible for bringing coronavirus – and more deaths – into long-term care facilities.
The order, which Cuomo said followed expert guidelines at the time, stated that COVID-19 patients could be sent back from hospitals to nursing homes, as it was believed then that they were not infectious anymore.
Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa (pictured left) reportedly said that Cuomo’s administration had feared that the COVID-19 deaths in nursing home could ‘be used against us’ as the Justice Department investigates New York and three other states
Cuomo’s administration has been rocked by the confession on Thursday of his top aide, Melissa DeRosa (pictured), that they deliberately hid data on nursing home COVID deaths, in the midst of a Justice Department investigation into their handling of the pandemic
Families claimed it added to the number of deaths, yet Cuomo claimed on Monday that 98 percent of the care homes already had COVID-19 in the building before the sick patients were sent back there – and that he was not responsible.
More than 15,000 people have died in New York state’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities from COVID-19, but as recently as last month, the state reported only 8,500 deaths.
The numbers, while accounted for in the full state death totals to the state, were not ascribed to nursing homes for residents who died in hospitals rather than within the facilities.
State lawmakers have been calling for investigations, stripping Cuomo of his emergency powers and even his resignation after new details emerged this week about why certain nursing home data wasn’t disclosed for months.