Last July, when top aides to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) learned that a report written by state health officials included the number of nursing home residents who died in the coronavirus pandemic, they intervened and rewrote the document, removing the data, The New York Times reports.
At the time, the death toll was more than 9,000 — a number that had not been made public, the Times reports. Earlier this year, after New York Attorney General Letitia James released a report saying the state seriously undercounted the number of nursing home COVID-19 deaths, Cuomo released the complete data. He said the number was kept under wraps over fears the Trump administration may have used it to launch a politically-motivated investigation into how New York handled the pandemic in nursing homes.
After reviewing documents and interviewing six people with direct knowledge of the matter, the Times found that Cuomo and his senior aides began concealing the number of deaths well before federal authorities started asking for the data. The report written by state health officials put the death toll at 50 percent higher than the number the Cuomo administration was publicly citing, the Times reports. Cuomo aides began pushing to simplify the number, the Times says, and that's when health officials became concerned that it would no longer be an accurate scientific report.
The death toll remained in the report even after one of Cuomo's top aides edited it, but was removed after two other aides became aware of its inclusion, the Times reports. None of the aides who were working on the edits had any experience in public health. Read more at The New York Times.