Cuomo Blames Others for Nursing Home COVID Policy in Congress Interview


Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo displayed no remorse for his administration’s policies that required nursing homes to admit COVID-19-positive patients during the early stages of the pandemic, according to Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), who participated in questioning him on Tuesday.

Cuomo, who stepped down in late 2021 amid a series of scandals, testified under subpoena before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic in a private transcribed interview concerning the March 25, 2020, directive from the New York Department of Health that prohibited nursing homes from refusing admission to COVID-19-positive patients.

Malliotakis, the sole New York delegate on the subcommittee, informed Truth Voices in an exclusive interview that Cuomo attributed the policy’s creation to an “unknown staffer at the Department of Health.”

“It’s frustrating that after nearly four years of seeking answers to what happened exactly here, what led to the executive order, he’s trying to blame an unknown staffer at the Department of Health,” Malliotakis said.

According to Malliotakis, Cuomo also alleged he was unaware of the executive order until a month after it was issued, when his office began receiving media inquiries.

Malliotakis expressed skepticism, noting Cuomo’s daily briefings on pandemic developments in New York from March 2 until June 19, 2020.

“Is it that the governor did not know what was going on in his own state?” Malliotakis asked. “Everybody else knew about it, all the local legislators, all the state legislators. The nursing homes were complaining about it to our offices.”

Malliotakis, who served in the New York State Assembly until January 2021, said she and her colleagues reported the issue to the Executive Chamber after being contacted by numerous constituents.

Additionally, Cuomo blamed the Trump administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for recommendations that nursing homes continue caring for COVID-19-positive patients.

Local news outlet WRGB-Albany obtained a copy of Cuomo’s opening remarks for the closed-door interview.

“It was in black-and-white in the CDC and CMS guidelines,” Cuomo’s prepared opening statement reads. “The medical theory was that the patients being released from hospitals were not infectious and discharges were conditioned on nursing homes having transmission-based precautions in place.”

Malliotakis told Truth Voices that the recommendations from CMS and CDC differed significantly from the mandate policy.

Cuomo also mentioned in his opening statement that several states, governed by both Democratic and Republican administrations, implemented similar nursing home policies. However, only Democratic states were investigated by the Trump administration’s Department of Justice for their actions.

Evidence from Cuomo’s impeachment inquiry, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, revealed the number of nursing home deaths from the policy could be as high as 9,844 and that the Department of Health underreported deaths. Cuomo, in his opening statement, cited asymptomatic positive nursing home workers as the cause of the high death toll.

Truth Voices reached out to Cuomo’s spokesperson, Rich Azzopardi, for a comment.

Gabrielle M. Etzel
Gabrielle M. Etzel
Healthcare Reporter. Previously, Etzel served as a staff reporter at Campus Reform and as a freelance writer. After graduating from Grove City College, she earned her master's in public policy and administration from Baylor University, where she conducted research on domestic sex trafficking. In her free time, Etzel enjoys being with her family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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