New York Assemblyman Ron Kim, a Democrat from Queens, has long called for an investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic. Now, Cuomo is calling him back. “Gov. Cuomo called me directly on Thursday to threaten my career if I did not cover up for [Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa] and what she said,” Kim told CNN on Wednesday. “It was a very traumatizing experience.” Cuomo’s order to force nursing homes to take COVID-positive patients in the early stages of the pandemic was heavily criticized, as was his decision not to include in-hospital deaths of nursing home residents in a facility’s overall death toll. DeRosa later admitted that the administration concealed death counts, fearing federal prosecution, according to audio obtained by the New York Post. An aide to Cuomo denied Kim’s allegations.
In a subsequent statement, Cuomo aide Rich Azzopardi said that Kim was lying, and then went on to attack Kim over a previous apparent dispute over nail salon legislation, while defending the Cuomo administration for its decision to send patients back to nursing homes.