New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said that she was going to make the state’s government more transparent after taking things over from former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and it seems that she’s at least off to somewhat of a good start on her first day on the job.
By the end of the day, her administration reported that Cuomo’s death count from the coronavirus was undercounted by 12,000.
New York now reports nearly 55,400 people have died of COVID-19 in New York based on death certificate data submitted to the CDC, up from about 43,400 that Gov. Cuomo had reported to the public as of Monday, his last day in office.
“We’re now releasing more data than had been released before publicly, so people know the nursing home deaths and the hospital deaths are consistent with what’s being displayed by the CDC,” Hochul stated during a chat Wednesday on MSNBC. “There’s a lot of things that weren’t happening and I’m going to make them happen. Transparency will be the hallmark of my administration.”
The Associated Press first reported in July on the large discrepancy between the fatality numbers publicized by the Cuomo administration and numbers the state was reporting to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The count used by Cuomo in his news media briefings only included laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 deaths reported through a state system that collects data from hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities. That meant the tally excluded people who died at home, hospice, in state prisons or at state-run homes for people living with disabilities. It also excluded people who likely died of COVID-19 but never got a positive test to confirm the diagnosis.
The lower number that was seemingly favored by Cuomo and his administration was still in the daily update that was published by Hochul’s office on Tuesday, however it contained an explanation for why it was an incomplete count.
“There are presumed and confirmed deaths. People should know both,” Hochul went on to say during a Wednesday morning appearance on NPR. “Also, as of yesterday, we’re using CDC numbers, which will be consistent. And so there’s no opportunity for us to mask those numbers, nor do I want to mask those numbers. The public deserves a clear, honest picture of what’s happening. And that’s whether it’s good or bad, they need to know the truth. And that’s how we restore confidence.”
Critics of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo had long charged him with skewing the COVID statistics in order to help cement his image as a pandemic leader.
“Federal prosecutors previously launched a probe examining his administration’s handling of data around deaths among nursing home patients. The state, under Cuomo, had minimized its toll of nursing home residents’ deaths by excluding all patients who died after being transferred to hospitals,” Newsmax’s report said.
The former governor employed the use of the lower numbers in 2020 to help make the erroneous claim that New York was actually seeing a significantly smaller percentage of nursing home residents dying of the coronavirus than other states in the country.
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