The office of New York Attorney General Letitia James has released a 76-page report revealing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration understated the number of nursing home patients that died in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic by more than 50%.
The report found that mismanagement of the nursing homes led to problems that made the facilities coronavirus death traps for residents. Coupled with Cuomo’s March 25 order that prevented nursing homes from turning away COVID-19-positive individuals from being treated or allowed on the premises, the report places Cuomo’s leadership back under intense scrutiny.
“While we cannot bring back the individuals we lost to this crisis, this report seeks to offer transparency that the public deserves and to spur increased action to protect our most vulnerable residents,” James said in a statement. “Nursing homes residents and workers deserve to live and work in safe environments, and I will continue to work hard to safeguard this basic right during this precarious time.”
The investigation uncovered that nursing homes across the state were reporting death totals 56% higher than the numbers released by Cuomo’s Department of Health. If that rate of underreporting took place consistently around the state, it would mean nursing home deaths in New York were several thousand more than previously reported.
The report suggests that nursing homes were potentially responsible for nearly one in three coronavirus deaths in the state of New York.