De Blasio calls for 'full accounting' after Cuomo accused of covering up nursing home death toll

NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio called for a "full accounting of what happened" following the revelation that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration stalled the release of data on Covid-19-related deaths in nursing homes.

Key context: Top Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa told Democratic state legislators in a meeting Wednesday that the administration “froze” when they were asked to share the data on the number of nursing home residents who died of Covid-19, the New York Post reported.

Critics have blamed the high death rates on orders from the Cuomo administration in March, directing nursing homes to admit patients who tested positive for Covid-19.

De Blasio, a frequent critic of both the governor and the New York Post, called it a “really disturbing report” and added that it’s “very troubling.”

“We've gotta know more,” de Blasio said on WNYC's The Brian Lehrer show Friday morning. “We now need a full accounting of what happened. Think about seniors ... their lives were in the balance and their families just desperate to get them the help they needed. We need to know exactly what happened here. We need to make sure nothing like this ever happens again."

Impact: DeRosa said the administration refrained from releasing the data due to former President Donald Trump’s efforts to turn the tragedy “into a giant political football,” according to the Post.

In a statement issued early Friday morning, she said when the administration received the inquiry from the Department of Justice, they had to "temporarily set aside the Legislature’s request to deal with the federal request first." She also said the governor's office "informed the houses of this at the time" and insisted Cuomo officials were "comprehensive and transparent in our responses to the DOJ."

What’s next: Top Republicans have called for Cuomo to resign or be impeached. Democratic State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi and 13 other lawmakers said the governor’s emergency powers made sense during the early stages of the pandemic but should be curbed in light of the report.

“It is clear that the expanded emergency powers granted to the Governor are no longer appropriate,” the legislators wrote in a statement.

Democrats have grown increasingly critical of Cuomo, also a Democrat, after a recent report by state Attorney General Tish James saying his administration undercounted the number of deaths. In that report, James said the official tally of roughly 8,500 was off by as much as 50 percent.

https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2021/02/12/de-blasio-calls-for-full-accounting-after-cuomo-accused-of-covering-up-nursing-home-death-toll-1363130