For most of the past year, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has tried to brush away a persistent criticism that undermined his national image as the man who led New York through the pandemic: that his policies had allowed thousands of nursing home residents to die of the virus.
But Mr. Cuomo was dealt a blow when the New York State attorney general, Letitia James, reported on Thursday morning that Mr. Cuomo’s administration had undercounted coronavirus-related deaths of state nursing home residents by the thousands.
Just hours later, Ms. James was proved correct, as Health Department officials made public new data that added more than 3,800 deaths to their tally, representing nursing home residents who had died in hospitals and had not previously been counted by the state as nursing home deaths.
The state’s acknowledgment increased the overall death toll related to those facilities by more than 40 percent. Ms. James’s report had suggested that the state’s previous tally could be off by as much as 50 percent.
The findings do not change the overall number of Covid-19 deaths in New York — more than 42,000, the most of any state — but the recalculation in the number of nursing home deaths illustrates how unprepared the nursing home industry was in the first and deadliest weeks of the pandemic. [Continue reading…]