New York attorney general accuses Gov. Cuomo of undercounting nursing home deaths by as much as 50%

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York Attorney General Tish James Stefani Reynolds, Lev Radin/Getty Images
  • NY’s attorney general accused the Cuomo administration of undercounting COVID nursing home deaths.
  • Attorney general Tish James put the undercount at up to 50% in an explosive report.
  • Cuomo endorsed James in her primary campaign back in 2018.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A bombshell report from New York Attorney General Tish James accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration of undercounting COVID-19 nursing home deaths by up to 50%.

Cuomo wrote a book about his coronavirus response and won an International Emmy Award for his daily briefings, touting his self-proclaimed “just the facts” approach to the pandemic in an ongoing victory lap.

Since getting hit hard by the virus in March and April, New York has recorded more than 42,000 fatalities as of Jan. 28.

New York’s nursing home deaths have been the subject of outside scrutiny for months. An Associated Press investigation published in May found that the Cuomo administration ordered more than 4,300 recovering COVID patients to be sent back into nursing homes, despite concerns over whether some of those patients were still contagious.

In the James report released Thursday, the New York Department of Health (DOH) is essentially accused of juking the stats by omitting nursing home patients who died from the coronavirus while in hospital.

“Preliminary data obtained by O.A.G. suggests that many nursing home residents died from Covid-19 in hospitals after being transferred from their nursing homes, which is not reflected in D.O.H.’s published total nursing home death data,” the AG’s office wrote in a summary of the report.

The attorney general’s findings directly contradict a report released by the Cuomo administration in July, which refuted claims that the governor’s order for COVID patients to be transferred to nursing homes did not contribute to the deaths because they “were no longer contagious when admitted and therefore were not a source of infection.”

Governor Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Back in 2018, Cuomo endorsed James in her contested Democratic primary in the AG race. The Cuomo endorsement led to a consolidation of support behind James, who edged out progressive challenger Zephyr Teachout in the primary before going on to win the general election.