New York Assemblyman Kevin Byrne said he and his colleagues have been ignored by the Cuomo administration. For months they've been trying to get more accurate numbers on COVID-related nursing home deaths in the state. The original stat released by the NYS Health Department put the number at just under 7,000 deaths, but reports suggest that they lowballed it because it didn't take into account the number of people who died after being transferred to the hospital. As the Associated Press put it, the real number appears to be "cloaked in secrecy."
And so they wait for answers.
Outrageous, it is almost the start of 2021 and New Yorkers are still waiting on answers from the NYS DOH on the real impact of COVID in nursing homes. https://t.co/qhbtNNcdL8— Will Barclay (@WillABarclay) December 16, 2020
Since Gov. Cuomo is not cooperating with their requests, Byrne said they're now seeking help from the president.
"What we're asking the president of the United States to do, is to take executive action from the White House to ensure the CDC collects this data so that it's made public, so that the policymakers and families who have been seeking answers as to what actually happened in nursing homes during the height of the pandemic earlier this spring, will get those answers," Byrne said.
NY Assemblyman @Byrne4NY, joined by over 20 others, are asking President Trump for help in getting a complete count of nursing home deaths related to COVID-19.— Miguel Moreno (@Miguel_NTD) December 23, 2020
The Cuomo Administration has not released data on the total number of nursing home residents who died in hospitals. pic.twitter.com/TLaXvMtEBr
In March, Cuomo introduced a mandate that forced recovering COVID patients back into nursing homes, very likely putting the vulnerable population even more at risk. As Byrne writes, the mandate "created a deadly environment that further spread this wicked virus to our most vulnerable."
"To know for sure, and to better prepare for the future, we need to know what the real numbers are," he adds.
You can read Byrne's full letter to the president here.
Janice Dean, who lost both of her in-laws in New York nursing homes this year, cheered on Byrne's effort.
.@Byrne4NY has been one of the few lawmakers that has supported us in our continued quest for answers including the truthful death toll of seniors that contracted Covid in their nursing homes. @NYGovCuomo continues to hide them because he knows it will make him look terrible. https://t.co/85ozLIowLE— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) December 23, 2020