Calls continue to grow for Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York to resign following allegations of concealing the number of patients dying in nursing homes from COVID-19 and sexual misconduct.
By Annika Henthorn
When COVID-19 first hit the United States, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York seemed to truly understand the fatality of COVID-19, despite the Trump Administration’s constant dismissal of it. However, now he is under the public’s scrutiny for understating nursing home deaths related to COVID-19.
Priding himself on New York’s management of COVID-19, Governor Cuomo, according to KHN, said New York ranked 46th out of 50 states in regards to nursing home deaths. This “ranking” was based off of understated deaths, where nursing home residents that died in the hospital were not counted in the overall nursing home deaths due to COVID-19.
When allegations first arose, Governor Cuomo justified its removal of nursing home deaths in hospitals as avoiding a “double count” in overall state deaths related to COVID-19. However, all other states reported nursing home residents who died in a hospital as a nursing home death, inflating New York’s statistics in comparison to others. However, Priya Chidambaram, a policy analyst at the Kaiser Family Foundation said that “New York is the only state that explicitly stated that they were excluding hospital-based deaths.”
Officials in Minnesota, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont have argued that there is, in fact, a way of calculating hospital deaths of nursing home residents without double counting. According to NBC, research experts like Chidambaram, have said that they did not know of any other state who opted to use the same method as New York. This has left many people wondering why other states were able to work around this problem of “double counting” and New York couldn’t, suggesting Cuomo’s intention of downplaying nursing home deaths.
Not only is Governor Cuomo under fire for his understatement of nursing home deaths, but also for sexual assault. According to Huffpost, recent allegations have surfaced from six women regarding sexual harassment and unwanted sexual misconduct. Four out of the six women were aides of the governor, and one of the women who did not work for him recounted her experience. Anna Ruch told The New York Times that he placed his hand on her bare lower back at a wedding in 2019 and after she moved his hand, he put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her.
Governor Cuomo has denied the allegations, saying that “never touched anyone inappropriately” and that “no one ever told me[him] at the time that I[he] made them uncomfortable.”
There is an ongoing federal investigation for his understatement of COVID-19 nursing home deaths, and the former U.S. Attorney for the South District of New York Joon Kim and employment discrimination attorney Anne Clark will be investigating the sexual harrsassment allegations, according to Huffpost.
Victoria Vidales '21,