The New York state Health Department under Governor Andrew Cuomo’s leadership illegally withheld COVID-19 nursing home death numbers from a government watchdog group, a judge ruled Wednesday.
In a scathing 16-page decision, acting Albany Supreme Court Justice Kimberly O’Connor blasted the NY Department of Health for failing to explain why it only released the numbers of those who died in nursing homes, but not those who later died in hospitals.
“DOH does not, in the Court’s opinion, offer an adequate explanation as to why it has not responded to that request within its estimated time period or to date,” O’Connor wrote.
“Its continued failure to provide petitioner a response, given the straightforward nature of the request … goes against FOIL’s broad standard of open and transparent government and is a violation of that statute,” she continued, and ordered the DOH to turn over the records within five business days.
The Empire Center for Public Policy, who was seeking the data from the DOH, called the ruling “a great victory.”
“We’re very pleased but we don’t have the data yet and there’s still a chance that they will appeal and tie this up for potentially months longer — and given the way they’ve behaved so far, I wouldn’t be surprised,” said senior fellow Bill Hammond.
“I think that appeal would be doomed. I think they don’t have a leg to stand on legally.”
Days prior to the ruling, New York Attorney General Letitia James released a damning report admitting that the state’s coronavirus death toll attributed to nursing homes was undercounted by about 50%, bringing the official total to 12,743 deaths.
Cuomo criticized James’ report, telling reporters, “Who cares [where people died]. They died!”
Yes, yes they did — because of Cuomo’s 2020 executive order herding COVID-positive patients into nursing homes to reduce hospital capacity.
Nevertheless, Cuomo received an Emmy for demonstrating “leadership” during the COVID scamdemic.
Read the judge’s ruling:
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