The more information that comes out regarding the true nature of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pandemic response, the more obvious it is that he has always valued his reputation over providing New Yorkers with the truth. Recently published articles in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported the governor’s top aides pressured state health officials to “strip a public report of data showing that more nursing-home residents had died of COVID-19 than the administration had acknowledged.” The magnitude of this administration’s indifference for the families of 15,000 seniors is appalling.
This alarming new report follows a series of revelations that the governor’s office has manipulated data, lied, and covered up what actually happened to 15,000 New Yorkers who died from COVID-19 while living in elder-care facilities. We long suspected the governor was misrepresenting facts — a report from the state attorney general has confirmed as much — but the recent revelation that the governor’s administration was so blatantly proactive in crafting this false narrative crosses from misrepresentation to obstruction.
Over the course of months, Gov. Cuomo held daily briefings making the claim that New York was looked at a national leader for its pandemic response. Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa was a member of President Biden’s transition team for COVID-19 response. As other states dealt with the pandemic and attempted to devise their own strategies to protect their own citizens, the Cuomo Administration was providing misleading information and falsifying reports.
The Assembly Minority Conference has asked repeatedly for a full account of what happened, including information obtained from subpoenas and compelled testimony. We still do not have the full picture of what transpired over the last 12 months, and this latest report only reinforces the need for investigations from the New York Legislature.
The press pool has been effective at putting the pieces together. But legislative entities in Albany, who have the authority to look for the truth, have yet to do so. How many more examples are needed before legislators stand up for what is right?
Democrats need to wake up. Andrew Cuomo has engaged in a methodical, aggressive, and calculated effort to shield the public from the reality that his administration’s policies failed to protect those living in these facilities. The legislature needs to do more than wait for the next headline to realize what’s happening in state government. Continued inaction is not an option.
William (Will) A. Barclay, Republican, is the New York Assembly Minority Leader and represents the 120th New York Assembly District, which encompasses most of Oswego County, including the cities of Oswego and Fulton, as well as the town of Lysander in Onondaga County and town of Ellisburg in Jefferson County. Contact Barclay at firstname.lastname@example.org.