New York's New Gov Adds 12K to State's COVID Death Count

New York governor Kathy Hochul (D.) / Getty Images
August 25, 2021

New York governor Kathy Hochul (D.), who took office this week in the wake of Andrew Cuomo's resignation, acknowledged nearly 12,000 additional deaths from COVID-19 that went uncounted when Cuomo was governor.

The state now reports over 55,000 deaths from the coronavirus, up from the 43,000 deaths Cuomo's health department tallied when he left office Tuesday morning.

"We're now releasing more data than had been released before publicly, so people know the nursing home deaths and the hospital deaths are consistent with what's being displayed by the CDC," Hochul said Wednesday. "There's a lot of things that weren't happening and I'm going to make them happen. Transparency will be the hallmark of my administration."

Hochul was elected Cuomo's lieutenant governor in 2014 and held the office for the entirety of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cuomo resigned Monday after a state attorney general's investigation this month found he sexually harassed 11 women. The former governor initially received praise from the media for his leadership during the pandemic, but another investigation, this one into his administration's handling of the health crisis, compromised that picture of competent governance.

The attorney general's report, released in January, found state health officials undercounted COVID deaths linked to nursing homes by approximately 50 percent. It also identified Cuomo's March 2020 order, which mandated that nursing homes admit residents who had been diagnosed with COVID, as a possible driver of nursing home fatalities. The order also potentially obscured the true number of COVID deaths because it "prohibited nursing homes from requiring COVID-19 testing as a criterion for admission."

New York has the second-highest per capita COVID death rate throughout the pandemic, surpassed only by New Jersey, according to the New York Times.