Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration failed to account for the deaths of 4,100 nursing home residents caused by COVID-19, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in an audit released Tuesday.
Health Department officials underreported the death toll by as much as 50% from April 2020 to February 2021, the audit found.
The 41-page report determined that the Health Department sometimes failed to meet its ethical and moral obligations to act transparently, and frequently went along with the narrative that Cuomo and his top officials wanted to push.
''Our audit findings are extremely troubling,'' DiNapoli said in a statement. ''The public was misled by those at the highest level of state government through distortion and suppression of the facts when New Yorkers deserved the truth.''
''The pandemic was devastating and deadly for New Yorkers living in nursing homes,'' DiNapoli continued. ''Families have a right to know if their loved one's COVID-19 death was counted, but many still don't have answers from the state Department of Health.''
Health officials would not give auditors a breakdown by name of nursing home residents who died from COVID, DiNapoli's office said, and the actual number of deaths is still unknown.
The state comptroller's audit is the third to confirm how Cuomo's administration drastically downplayed the number of nursing home deaths during the pandemic, while attempting to raise his public profile in 2020.
Cuomo, a Democrat, resigned in August because of the numerous scandals that consumed his administration, including controversy over COVID-19 nursing home deaths and accusations of sexual misconduct.
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