Following a pledge to offer more “transparency” than her predecessor, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has published a count acknowledging 12,000 more deaths from Covid-19 in the state than the number reported by her predecessor Andrew Cuomo.
In a daily update on the virus published on Tuesday, her first day in office, Hochul included the comprehensive toll of Covid-19 deaths tallied by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
This tally counts presumed deaths as well as confirmed deaths spanning a range of settings—including nursing homes, hospices and prisons—and comes out 12,000 deaths higher than the data Cuomo relied on.
The Cuomo administration published a lower number in his news media briefings that only counted laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 deaths reported by healthcare facilities.
The state count, which is at 43,415 deaths, excluded deaths in hospices, state prisons and more, and also overlooked people who likely died of Covid-19 but did not have the diagnosis confirmed.
“There are presumed and confirmed deaths. People should know both,” Hochul told NPR Wednesday morning. “As of yesterday, we’re using CDC numbers, which will be consistent. And so there’s no opportunity to mask those numbers, nor do I want to mask those numbers.”
The Cuomo administration was accused of purposely manipulating Covid-19 death data after an investigation by the New York State Attorney General’s office found it may have underreported nursing home deaths by as much as 50%. The previous administration later said it was not including nursing home residents who died in hospital in its publicly posted tally to avoid a “double count” of those deaths in the statewide total, a break from how other states reported the data. Since taking office, Hochul has sought to distance herself from Cuomo and the scandals that led to his resignation.
“No, there weren’t thousands of covid deaths in New York that no one reported” (The Washington Post)