New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tried Monday to justify a delay in the release of data about COVID deaths in nursing home, repeatedly insisting “there is nothing to investigate.” His administration’s handling of the matter is under scrutiny after a top aide, Melissa DeRosa, told state lawmakers that it paused on releasing the information after the Justice Department opened a probe into the deaths. Cuomo said the state put the data reports on hold while it dealt with requests from DOJ and then was tied up with managing the response to the pandemic. “In retrospect, should we have given more priority to fulfilling information requests? In my opinion, yes,” the Democrat said. “But do I understand the pressure everyone was under? Yes.”
Cuomo admitted that the lack of information created a “void” filled by misinformation but once again denied that the decision to transfer recovering COVID patients to nursing homes fueled outbreaks that ultimately killed 13,000 residents of long-term care facilities. After being portrayed as a hero of the pandemic early on, state lawmakers from both parties are now pushing for a probe of Cuomo’s actions and eyeing a move to curb his emergency powers.