Kathy Hochul, the new governor of New York, decided to expose the real picture of the state’s COVID-19 pandemic under Gov. Andrew Cuomo by adding thousands of more COVID-19 deaths to the tally on her first day in office.
On Wednesday, Aug. 25, Hochul acknowledged nearly 12,000 more deaths from COVID-19 in New York than had been publicized by her predecessor.
New York now recorded more than 55,400 deaths of COVID-19 based on death certificate data submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up from about 43,400 that Cuomo reported to the public in his last day in office on Monday, The Associated Press reported.
New York’s first female governor made the state’s COVID-19 pandemic picture clearer in a move to push for more government transparency.
“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 said on MSNBC on Wednesday. “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.”
According to the AP, the Cuomo administration only counted the COVID-19 deaths from hospitals, nursing homes, and adult care facilities, while excluding those who died at home, hospice, in state prisons, or at state-run homes for people living with disabilities, and those who likely died of COVID-19 but never got a positive test to confirm the diagnosis.
That lower number used by Cuomo in his news briefings still appeared in the daily update put out by Hochul’s office on Tuesday, but with an explanation about why it was an incomplete count.
Also appearing on NPR on Wednesday, Hochul said that the public deserves an honest picture of what is happening and that is the way she wants to restore confidence.
“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,” Hochul told NPR.
Last year, Cuomo used the lower numbers to claim that his state saw a much smaller percentage of nursing home residents dying of COVID-19 than other states.
Cuomo announced his resignation on Aug. 10, but not due to his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, but after the New York State Attorney General’s Office found he harassed 11 women in his entourage.