New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was hailed as a COVID-19 hero for staging regular press conferences during the pandemic—despite his state experiencing the most COVID deaths, his performative blockade of New Rochelle in the early days of the pandemic, his clumsy handling of restaurants and schools, his childish infighting with Mayor de Blasio, and the fact that he placed people infected with COVID-19 back into nursing homes, resulting in thousands of deaths. That last point was thrown into sharper relief this past week after one of Cuomo’s top aides, Melissa DeRosa, revealed that their administration withheld data on COVID-19 nursing home deaths. While the Cuomo administration reported 9,154 nursing home deaths due to COVID-19, the real number was far higher: 15,049.
On Monday night, The Daily Show host Trevor Noah wasn’t buying the Cuomo administration’s excuse that they’d withheld the damning data over concerns that the Trump Justice Department might in turn hold it against them.
“Wow. Really, Governor Cuomo? You lowered your own numbers to make yourself look better? Woof,” said Noah. “And the explanation that they’re going with is they thought the Trump administration would use the high nursing home deaths against them, which, yeah. Usually if you’re not doing a good job, it gets used against you. That’s the whole point of data! This would be like if the Kansas City Chiefs said, come on, you’re gonna look at the scoreboard? Isn’t it enough that I’m telling you that I won the Super Bowl? Come on!”
Noah continued: “And when you think about it, messing with COVID numbers to make yourself look better is just about the Trumpiest thing you can do—which is ironic, since the main reason Cuomo became a pandemic hero is that he was giving informative, coherent press conferences while Trump was trying to inject people with bleach. It’s like, if you take a bowl of Chef Boyardee and you put it next to a bowl of worms, the fact that it’s next to something so disgusting makes those worms look really delicious.”
Ultimately, Noah appeared understandably outraged that Cuomo had shielded the public from the ugly truth—which helped maintain the illusion that he was some kind of COVID-fighting hero, when he was anything but.
“I don’t care what anybody says. For me, you cannot justify doing the wrong thing because you say, oh, Trump might have or might not have or would have—no,” argued Noah. “You did the wrong thing.”
If all that weren’t enough, Cuomo actually had the audacity to publish a book in October about how well he was handling the pandemic titled American Crisis: Leadership Lessons of the COVID-19 Pandemic. How Cuomo was able to pen a whole damn 320-page book—and conduct a virtual press tour for it—while so “expertly” managing the COVID-19 crisis is anybody’s guess.
For the record: 45,552 New Yorkers have died of COVID-19 at time of writing.