More than 15,000 people have died from the coronavirus in New York’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities. But as recently as late January, the state was reporting only about 8,500 fatalities, excluding virus-related deaths that occurred physically outside of those facilities, such as in hospitals.
About two weeks ago, the state’s attorney general, Letitia James, accused the Cuomo administration of severely undercounting those deaths connected to nursing homes. Hours later, the state updated those numbers, adding thousands of deaths to the official tally. Since then, a court order has resulted in more updates, further increasing the number of deaths.
Ms. James’s assertion of an undercount of total deaths of nursing home residents fueled accusations that the Cuomo administration may have artificially depressed the number of those deaths to try to deflect blame for a policy set early in the pandemic: sending nursing home residents who had been hospitalized with the coronavirus back to the nursing homes.
The governor has said the state was following federal guidelines in returning the residents and trying to increase hospital capacity, assertions that he repeated on Monday, while also denying any suggestion that he was making any decision because of political calculations. “These decisions are not political decisions,” he said.
Author(s): Jesse McKinley
Publication Date: 15 February 2021
Publication Site: NY Times