Amid reporting that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s top advisors pressured state health officials not to count those who died in hospitals in the Covid-19 nursing home death count, GOP leaders on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform are renewing their calls for an investigation into the “coverup.”
Republicans, including Reps. Steve Scalise, R-La., James Comer, R-Ky., Kevin Brady, R-Texas, Devin Nunes, R-Calif., Tom Reed, R-N.Y., Cathy McMorris Rogers, R-Wyo., and Brett Guthrey, R-Ky., wrote the letter to their Democratic colleagues in the majority, urging them to bring forth a committee investigation.
“Given this timeline and publicly available information — which seems to confirm that a politically-driven data cover-up occurred … it is unclear what more the majority needs to know in order to deploy all the tools at your disposal, including hearings and subpoenas, to determine if Governor Cuomo’s administration deliberately provided false data to the federal government and the public.”
On Thursday both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal reported that Cuomo’s top advisers influenced health officials to remove data from a report on nursing home deaths that resulted significantly undercounting the total deaths.
The final report focused only on nursing home residents who died inside those facilities and did not include nursing home residents who were transferred to hospitals after becoming sick.
That means the state’s reported tally of 6,432 nursing-home resident deaths was significantly lower than the actual nursing-home death toll. The initial version of the report before Cuomo’s advisers got to it said nearly 10,000 nursing home residents of Covid-19 had died by July. State officials reveal the number is now at more than 15,000 residents.
Counselor to the governor Beth Garvey said the in-hospital death data had not been included because the New York Department of Health “could not confirm it had been adequately verified.” But according to the Times’ reporting, the advisers rewrote the report to keep private the totality of Covid-19 nursing home deaths.
Last month, Republicans on the House Oversight Committee urged Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat, to subpoena Cuomo to testify before the panel on the coronavirus-related deaths in the state’s nursing homes. Cuomo came under fire for an early-pandemic policy that required nursing homes to take in Covid-positive patients.
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