Correspondent in New York
The New York Governor Kathy Hochul, has recognized that the number of deaths from Covid-19 in New York is much higher than that managed by his predecessor, Andrew Cuomo. Hochul, who has taken office this week after the resignation of Cuomo, harassed by a scandal of sexual harassment of women, places the death toll in his edited at 55,400, which is 12,000 more deaths than so far admitted Cuomo .
The previous governor chose to consider as deceased by Covid only those who had undergone a laboratory test to determine the presence of the virus and that was counted with data collected from hospitals, nursing homes and other types of health centers through a system managed by state authorities.
That accounting left out the deceased by Covid who died at home, in hospices, or in prisons, as well as those who probably died from the virus, but were not tested to confirm the diagnosis.
In his daily appearances to report on the evolution of the pandemic – which in his day made him a national icon in the fight against the virus – Cuomo always chose the most conservative death toll. His government, however, sent the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US medical authority, another higher count that collected all the deceased with a death certificate in which the covid appeared as a cause or contributing factor of death.
Do away with makeup
As soon as he took office, Hochul – until now lieutenant-governor – has decided to end the makeup and offer all the data. «There are many things that were not done and now are going to be done. Transparency will be the hallmark of my administration, “he said in an interview with the public radio station NPR. «They are probable and confirmed deaths. The public must know both».
This is not the first time that the death count is a political problem for Cuomo. Earlier this year, shortly before the sexual harassment scandal broke, a report by the New York attorney general, Laetitia James, determined that his Government had made up the numbers of deceased in nursing homes. These centers, many of them run by state authorities, were one of the main centers of deaths, and Cuomo’s team decided not to count the elderly who, although they had fallen ill in nursing homes, ended up dying in hospitals.
Among Cuomo’s motivations for hiding the death toll in hospitals was the decision he made in the spring of 2020, in the worst of the crisis, to send the elderly who had been through Covid back to nursing homes after going through the hospital, which for some was an engine of infections and deaths in these centers.
In those months, however, there was no criticism against Cuomo, but a widespread fascination with his management of the pandemic and for the effectiveness of his daily appearances, in which he calmly transmitted the numbers of the crisis and sent clear messages to the population. Faced with the confusion in the management of the pandemic by the Trump Administration, Cuomo became a benchmark for the Democratic party, and even appeared among the favorite candidates for the White House in 2024.
Cuomo was celebrated with an ‘Emmy’ award for those television appearances and took advantage of the fame to sign a book on his management of the crisis, for which he pocketed a few five million dollars. Now, turned into a political waste after the accusations of sexual harassment, they have withdrawn the ‘Emmy’ and the publisher that published the book says it will stop printing it.