A bipartisan group of New York lawmakers is calling for Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D.) to be stripped of his emergency powers as fallout from his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic reaches a boiling point.
The call comes less than a day after the New York Post reported that a Cuomo aide admitted the administration suppressed information about nursing home deaths in the state. The aide said the administration "froze" out of fear that federal prosecutors would use the information in an investigation into Cuomo's handling of the pandemic.
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Fourteen Democratic state senators joined Republicans in calling for Cuomo's emergency powers, which the state legislature granted him last March, to be rescinded. Sen. John Mannion (D.) described the suppression of the nursing home deaths as "unacceptable" and called for an investigation, while Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D.) said the situation was "a betrayal of the public trust." State Republican chairman Nick Langworthy called for the governor's "impeachment and prosecution." And New York City mayor Bill de Blasio (D.) said that Cuomo should "100 percent" lose the emergency powers.
— Mack Rosenberg (@MackRosenberg) February 12, 2021
Cuomo issued a directive on March 25 that sent more than 9,000 COVID-positive patients to nursing homes, a number that is 40 percent higher than his administration originally said. Cuomo claimed at the time that he was worried hospitals would become overwhelmed by COVID patients. His administration reversed the directive less than two months later, however, because it had contributed to outbreaks in nursing homes.
Cuomo also misled the public about the number of patients who died in nursing homes. The administration originally claimed that 8,500 patients died, but a report released last month by New York attorney general Letitia James (D.) found that the true number is greater than 15,000.
The media lavished extensive amounts of praise on Cuomo's handling of the crisis, and the governor received an international Emmy for his COVID-19 press conferences. According to CDC estimates, New York has suffered more than 45,000 deaths from the virus, more than any other state in the country.
Cuomo dismissed the attorney general's report on the number of nursing home deaths.
"Who cares?" he said. "They died!"