The state reportedly understated such fatalities by as much as 50%
May Nast arrives for dinner at RiverWalk, an independent senior housing facility, in New York, April 1, 2021 © AP / Seth Wenig
The New York State Health Department “misled the public” about Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes and failed to account for over 4,000 deaths, according to a report from the New York state comptroller.
The report, which was released on Tuesday, claimed that “instead of providing accurate and reliable information during a public health emergency, the Department conformed its presentation to the Executive’s narrative” and presented data in a way which “misled the public.”
In a footnote, the report clarified that “the Executive” referred to – among others – former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his staff. Cuomo resigned as governor in August 2021 amid sexual misconduct allegations. Before his resignation, critics repeatedly accused Cuomo of covering up Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes.
Deaths in New York nursing homes were not accurately reported, according to Tuesday’s release, and the Health Department allegedly “understated the number of deaths” by “as much as 50%.” Whether this was an error or “a deliberate decision” was uncertain, the comptroller declared.
One way in which the New York State Health Department allegedly misled the public was by changing the criteria to only report deaths which occurred in-home – excluding the many deaths of nursing home residents which occurred in hospitals and elsewhere.
“All told, for the nearly 10-month period from April 2020 to February 2021, the Department failed to account for approximately 4,100 lives lost due to COVID-19,” the report said.