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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined fellow New York Democrats in calling for an investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his administration’s handling of COVID-19 in the state’s nursing homes.
Cuomo is under increasing pressure from both Democrats and Republicans after his top aide, Melissa DeRosa, said during a private call with Democratic lawmakers that the administration withheld data about COVID-19 nursing home deaths because it was concerned about a potential investigation by President Donald Trump’s Justice Department. DeRosa’s comments were leaked and first published last week by the New York Post.
“Thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers lost their lives in nursing homes throughout the pandemic,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement on Friday. “Their loved ones and the public deserve answers and transparency from their elected leadership, and the Secretary to the Governor’s remarks warrant a full investigation.”
The New York attorney general, Letitia James, released a report in late January accusing the Cuomo administration of deliberately undercounting COVID-19 nursing home deaths by excluding thousands of nursing home residents who died in hospitals. About 15,000 residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities have died in New York since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Cuomo administration has been under scrutiny for months following the governor’s order sending more than 4,300 COVID-19 patients back into their nursing homes despite concerns that they remained contagious.
A host of Democratic leaders in the state have criticized the administration’s handling of the nursing home crisis.
“Crucial information should never be withheld from entities that are empowered to pursue oversight,” the Democratic Senate majority leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, said in a statement last week.
This week, Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim, a Democrat, said Cuomo called him and threatened to “destroy” him if he didn’t put a more positive spin on DeRosa’s statement. A top adviser to Cuomo subsequently accused Kim of lying about his communications with the governor. But a slew of politicians, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, came to Kim’s defense and accused Cuomo of regularly bullying lawmakers and others.
“A lot of people in New York State have received those phone calls. The bullying is nothing new,” de Blasio told MSNBC.
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Originally published at https://www.businessinsider.com/aoc-backs-investigation-cuomo-covid-19-nursing-home-response-2021-2 on .