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Day after scathing N.Y. AG report on nursing home COVID deaths, Cuomo shirks responsibility

The New York Democrat says he understands the impulse of those who lost someone during the pandemic to "find someone to blame."

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Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Cuomo
(Spencer Platt/Getty)
Updated: January 29, 2021 - 3:02pm

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New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday gave no direct response Friday to a report a day earlier by the New York attorney general that found the governor's administration had vastly underreported the number of coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes across the state.

"Everyone did the best they could," he said. "If you think there was a mistake, go talk to the federal government. It's not about pointing fingers or placing blame."

The 76-page report conclude the number of such deaths were under-counted by as much as 50%.

The governor and the state health department have been sensitive since last spring to accusations that any actions of theirs could be tied to the more than 8,500 officially reported deaths in New York state nursing homes.

The report found consistent and significant discrepancies between the number of deaths reported to the office of the attorney general by nursing homes and the death count officially released by the New York Health Department. 

"Preliminary data obtained by O.A.G. suggests that many nursing home residents died from Covid-19 in hospitals after being transferred from their nursing homes, which is not reflected in D.O.H.'s published total nursing home death data," reads a summary of the AG's report. 

In Friday's press conference, Cuomo also said indoor dining in New York will reopen on Feb. 14 at 25% capacity.

When a reporter questioned whether the 25% cap would allow for enough patrons to really help small businesses owners stay afloat, the governor said, "25% is better than zero, and that's where we are now."

Cuomo also announced that beginning March 15, New York wedding receptions will again be able to take place, so long as everyone in attendance is tested beforehand and the guest list is capped at 150 people, or 50% capacity of the venue.

The governor is also requesting $15 billion in federal aid. Specifically, he called upon his Democratic colleagues, who have majorities in both congressional chambers and control of the White House, to come through for New York.

"There are no excuses," he said, now that his party is in control.

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