Top advisers to Gov. Andrew Cuomo successfully pushed state health officials to omit from a public report the number of nursing home residents who died in hospitals from COVID-19, it was revealed on Thursday night.
Instead, the July state Health Department report listed only the nursing home residents who died from the virus at their facilities, far undercounting the total death toll of the state’s most vulnerable population, sources told The Wall Street Journal.
The revelation further confirms the Cuomo administration possessed a more complete accounting of the COVID-nursing death count during the summer, but waited eight more months to cough up the true totals after repeatedly stonewalling lawmakers and the media, losing a lawsuit and being subjected to a damning state attorney general report.
Last month, The Post exclusively reported that one of Cuomo’s top aides, Melissa DeRosa, told Democratic leaders in a video conference call that “we froze” out of fear that the true numbers would “be used against us” by federal prosecutors.
The July report, which largely defended a controversial and since-rescinded administration policy of requiring nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients discharged from the hospitals, had said 6,432 nursing-home residents died from the virus.
In truth, though, more than 15,000 nursing home residents are now reported to have died in the state from the illness, including in their facilities and hospitals.