NEW YORK CITY, NY – 12,000 people were added to New York State’s COVID-19 death toll this week, bring the true, total number of lives lost to 55,000; this is in stark contrast to the 43,000 that former Governor Andrew Cuomo maintained had succumbed to the virus on his watch.
NYS Department of Health (DOH) officials released the revised death tallies shortly after Cuomo’s successor, Governor Kathy Hochul, was sworn into office after he had resigned Monday in disgrace over a sexual harassment scandal. The revised death toll now more accurately reflects previous estimates provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Johns Hopkins University, reports say. Hochul, who spoke to MSNBC on Wednesday morning, said that transparency regarding the pandemic going forward will be vital to her administration.
“We’re now releasing more data than had been released before, publicly, so people know the nursing home deaths and the hospital deaths are consistent with what’s being displayed by the CDC,” she said. “There’s just a lot of things that weren’t happening, and I’m going to make them happen. Transparency will be the hallmark of my administration.”
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Bill Hammond, a health care policy expert with The Empire Center, applauded Hochul’s honesty and efforts to shed light on the failures of the previous administration.
“It’s a good first step by Hochul,” he said. “The higher COVID death totally is significantly important. She’s acknowledging how bad things got. She’s not sugarcoating the problem. Cuomo was trying to keep the numbers as low as he could.”
Previously, the Cuomo Administration had reported the number of New Yorkers killed by COVID-19 to be 43,415, due to only taking into account deaths that occurred in hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities. However, COVID-related deaths taking place elsewhere – such as homes and prisons – were ignored to artificially keep numbers down, drawing outrage when this was revealed in a report released by NY Attorney General Letitia James in January.
However, the DOH figures released this week now put the true number of COVID-related deaths in NY State to date at 55,395.