(New York Post) – New York’s nursing-home death toll from COVID-19 may be more than 50 percent higher than officials claim — because Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration hasn’t revealed how many of those residents died in hospitals, state Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday.
In a damning, 76-page report, James also said that some unidentified nursing homes apparently underreported resident fatalities to the state Department of Health and failed to enforce infection-control measures — with more than 20 currently under investigation.
The bombshell findings could push the current DOH tally of 8,711 deaths to more than 13,000, based on a survey of 62 nursing homes that found the state undercounted the fatalities there by an average of 56 percent.
The report further notes that at least 4,000 residents died after the state issued a controversial, March 25 Cuomo administration mandate for nursing homes to admit “medically stable” coronavirus patients — which James said “may have put residents at increased risk of harm in some facilities.”
“As the pandemic and our investigations continue, it is imperative that we understand why the residents of nursing homes in New York unnecessarily suffered at such an alarming rate,” James said.
“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.”
Vivian Zayas — who founded the Voices for Seniors advocacy group after her mom, who lived in a Long Island nursing home, died of COVID-19 last year — said that “our jaws dropped” upon reading James’ report.
“The attorney general’s report shows that Cuomo’s book on his great leadership during the pandemic is a fraud,” she said.
“It’s a fraud and insult to the families. He’s a fraud and his book is a fraud.”