By Arnelle Philemy
A year since the first declared cases of coronavirus, COVID-19 still impacts the world, especially in New York state, where there are over 1.6 million cases of the virus. Last year, when all this chaos started Governor Andrew Cuomo was at the front row of the pandemic, keeping New Yorkers safe and alert making him an example for all governors around the US.
Now, he is back in the front row, but not for the reasons one would like to hear about. He is facing some serious questions regarding the number of nursing home deaths in New York. According to Jesse McKinley and Luis Ferré-Sadurní of The New York Times, “Mr. Cuomo’s administration had undercounted coronavirus-related deaths of state nursing home residents by the thousands” as indicated in a report from the New York State Attorney General, Letitia James, who is investigating the facts.
This comes to light after what was supposed to be a private conversation between Melissa DeRosa a top aide of the Governor, and some Democrat lawmakers. The conversation was about the delay in the report of deaths in nursing care facilities due to the virus. According to Jesse McKinley and Luis Ferré-Sadurní in the New York Times, in the article, Ms. DeRosa said, Basically, we froze.” According to the Cuomo administration, when they had to send the data, they were worried that it could be used against them in an investigation by the Trump justice department, a federal investigation that happened months ago.
On the day of the investigation lead by Attorney General James, she discovered that more than 15,000 people have died with the virus in New York nursing homes and long-term care facilities. But only about 8,500 death were reported by the state before the investigations began.
Although the Mr. Cuomo tried to justify his actions many times this month, during his morning briefings, making up some sort of apologies he is still facing much criticism from Republicans and some Democrats wanting more than excuses from him. As McKinley and Ferré-Sadurní write in The New York Times, “Republicans have demanded the resignations of top Cuomo administration officials and new federal investigations.” Most lawmakers believe the governor should resign, especially since this is not the only scandal, he is facing right now. Will this be the end of “third-term Democrat” Andrew M. Cuomo?
Mr. Cuomo has lost the trust of many New Yorkers who don’t think he should be leading the emergency response of the coronavirus in the state. His approval rate as gone down with 60% of New Yorkers believing he did something unethical in his handling of the virus nursing home deaths. Those 15,000 people who died had loved ones, who feel like they did not get any empathy from the governor and his administration. They hoped for a better leader in New York governor.