New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s underreporting of COVID-19 nursing homes deaths could lead to criminal charges, according to legal experts in a Sunday Fox News report.
Top Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa first reported the undercounting of nursing home deaths from the pandemic in a New York Post account. She noted they hid the true number of the state’s death toll out of fear federal prosecutors would use the data against them.
Blaming Trump for making the issue a “political football,” DeRosa noted his plans to have the Department of Justice investigate the issue caused them to “freeze.” She reported “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.”
Despite DeRosa’s apology, Cuomo may face serious repercussions as families of nursing home victims determine legal options. Between allegedly making false statements to the federal government and attempts to block an investigation, those involved could seriously complicate matters for the governor.
The recent news also contrasts the governor’s strong appearances early in the pandemic. His near daily briefings criticized the Trump administration and garnered frequent attention from his brother’s CNN network.
In October, Governor Cuomo’s popularity led to the release of a new book called “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.” But the current nursing home death scandal has now changed Cuomo’s favorability among both parties.
The updated list of nursing homes deaths in New York is now acknowledged at more than 15,000 — almost twice the originally reported statistic. The startling difference will certainly lead to further investigation into the issue, as well as Cuomo’s handling of it.
For a political leader who daily accused former President Trump of killing Americans due to his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cuomo now appears to be the one under scrutiny. It’s no longer about political party; this is a life and death issue impacting thousands of nursing home residents and their families.
The media—and the courts—cannot give Cuomo a pass this time. If the allegations are true, he won’t just be headed out of the governor’s house, but perhaps to spend some time behind bars.
The biggest irony here is that Cuomo was held up as the ideal governor during the earlier days of the pandemic — along with California Governor Gavin Newsom, who now stands to be recalled. But the reality of the situation is finally settling in — the authoritarian approach to COVID-19 didn’t work in the beginning, it isn’t working now, and there’s no reason to expect it to work in the future.
Meanwhile, red states like Florida remain open — with a death toll far lower than their blue counterparts.