Psaki dodges questions on reports Cuomo’s team delayed releasing Covid-19 death data

“The President hosted Gov. Cuomo, and a bipartisan group of governors and mayors were at the White House today to get their perspective from the front lines, not to give anyone a stamp of approval or to seek their stamp of approval, and to discuss the urgency of passing the American Rescue Plan,” she said during her press briefing.

A report in late January from New York’s attorney general found the New York State Department of Health undercounted Covid-19 deaths among residents of nursing homes by approximately 50%.
Cuomo’s top aide Melissa DeRosa told state lawmakers in a private virtual meeting that the state had been concerned about a US Justice Department preliminary inquiry into Covid-19 deaths in New York nursing homes, as well as attention from former President Donald Trump. The former president was tweeting about Cuomo and other Democratic governors’ handling of the nursing homes, a transcript of the call released by the governor’s office shows.

DeRosa said the Cuomo administration had delayed the release of data on Covid-19 deaths among long-term care facility residents because of concerns about a potential federal investigation, according to the transcript. The now public data revealed thousands more confirmed and presumed Covid-19 deaths among long-term care facility residents than previously disclosed.

Psaki did not directly comment on the reports.

“Gov. Cuomo is of course the governor of one of the largest states in the country, one of the places where the pandemic hit hardest the earliest, where there’s still many Americans who are continuing to struggle to get vaccinated, to make ends meet, and so it was important to have him as a part of the meeting,” she said.

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