'Who cares? ... They died!': Cuomo hits back at questions surrounding COVID nursing home death data

Governor has lately been accused of covering up high death numbers.

Published: January 30, 2021 10:54am

Updated: January 30, 2021 10:36pm

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week awkwardly pushed back against criticism of New York's official COVID-19 nursing home death data, appearing to callously dismiss claims that his administration failed to properly secure long-term care facilities against the virus over the past year and then fudged the numbers to cover that failure up.

In a scathing report this week, the New York attorney general claimed that the Cuomo administration may have severely undercounted the number of nursing home-associated deaths by failing to count care facility residents who died after being transferred to a hospital.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Cuomo said: "A third of all deaths in this nation are from nursing homes. New York State, we’re only about 28%…We’re below the national average in number of deaths in nursing homes."

"But who cares?" he continued. "33 [percent], 28 [percent], died in a hospital, died in a nursing home—they died!"

The response led to significant media criticism from a wide variety of publications. The New York Post slammed Cuomo's remarks as "callous" and "stunning."

"From a public policy perspective, we should care," wrote Aaron Blake at the Washington Post. "A death is indeed a death, but there are major and very valid questions about whether nursing home policies led to unnecessary ones."

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