Andrew Cuomo’s pandemic response in NY fueled by politics, not science, former health officials say

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Disgraced former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s method to the pandemic was largely fueled by politics and preserving his personal ego moderately than precise science, in response to a brand new report.

Former state well being officers described the Cuomo administration as a “frantic” atmosphere the place public well being consultants “weren’t simply overruled, however always responding to Cuomo’s ‘ridiculous calls for’ that had been anticipated to take priority,” Politico reported Friday.


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo arrives to depart in his helicopter after saying his resignation in Manhattan, New York Metropolis, U.S., August 10, 2021. (REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs)
(REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs)

Cuomo, who resigned in August amid a number of scandals, prioritized his Emmy-winning televised press conferences above all else, which “diverted individuals’s consideration to service the press convention as a substitute of servicing the working of the state,” a former Division of Well being staffer stated.

“It grew to become extra concerning the press convention and concerning the problem that he was speaking about on the press convention,” the staffer stated.

Cuomo “was managing by press launch, by press convention. If he noticed a nasty story he pivoted, and we reacted to it, the insurance policies reacted to it. Everybody who labored with him put up with it. However he acquired plenty of kudos,” a member of the previous governor’s COVID-19 activity pressure instructed Politico.

In the summertime of 2020, Cuomo reportedly requested the state well being division to deploy an “military” of roughly 5,000 workers to implement COVID-19-related guidelines at eating places, as a result of he needed to publicly tout his crackdown on violators. An official charged with the deployment referred to as it an “inconceivable request” and stated he ended up solely enlisting 50 workers.

“[T]op officers rapidly fashioned a plan they hoped would placate the mercurial governor till he moved on to another thought,” Politico reported. “It labored, and have become simply certainly one of a number of subterfuges state well being officers concocted to take care of calls for from the governor’s workplace they believed to be primarily based in politics, not science. That steady stress from Cuomo’s workplace contributed to dozens of high-level employees departures within the months after New York grew to become the worldwide epicenter for the viral outbreak, in response to a number of individuals who labored on the state’s Covid response.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (L) and Michaela Kennedy-Cuomo are seen at the Eastside Heliport in Midtown on August 10, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (L) and Michaela Kennedy-Cuomo are seen on the Eastside Heliport in Midtown on August 10, 2021 in New York Metropolis. (Photograph by Gotham/GC Photographs)

Cuomo’s spokesperson, Wealthy Azzopardi, blasted the allegations reported by Politico.

“These are second or third hand interpretations from an worker whose solely interplay with the Governor or his high employees was throughout a reside COVID briefing and the truth that this line of questioning was even pursued on this unrelated matter speaks volumes about how this whole scenario was politicized and weaponized,” Azzopardi stated in an announcement.

“This pandemic was unprecedented, there was zero help from the federal authorities and — as was the case with many different governors — it required a centralized all-hands-on-deck response,” he stated. “We listened to the evolving science, however pushed again towards the forms and the forms has been making an attempt to get even every single day since.”

The New York state Meeting Judiciary Committee launched a report final week that stated it discovered “overwhelming proof” that Cuomo engaged in a number of situations of sexual harassment whereas in workplace, and that Cuomo tasked high state officers with serving to him develop his ebook, “American Disaster: Management Classes from the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

One senior official even complained that engaged on the ebook was compromising his or her capacity to work on COVID-related issues, the report stated.

Governor Andrew Cuomo holds a press briefing and makes announcement to combat COVID-19 Delta variant at 633 3rd Avenue on Aug. 2, 2021. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Governor Andrew Cuomo holds a press briefing and makes announcement to fight COVID-19 Delta variant at 633 third Avenue on Aug. 2, 2021. (Photograph by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket by way of Getty Photographs)

Cuomo “utilized state assets and property, together with work by Government Chamber employees, to put in writing, publish, and promote his ebook concerning his dealing with of the COVID-19 disaster – a challenge for which he was assured not less than $5.2 million in private revenue,” the report stated.

Investigators additionally discovered that the Cuomo administration “was not absolutely clear” with the American individuals concerning the variety of nursing dwelling residents who died on account of COVID-19, and that out-of-facility deaths had been intentionally disregarded of a broadcast state Division of Well being report, which Cuomo had a major hand in modifying and revising after he confronted criticism for his dealing with of nursing properties through the pandemic. 


The report additionally stated state well being Commissioner Howard Zucker, the one medical skilled on Cuomo’s COVID-19 activity pressure, didn’t have common conferences with the previous governor through the pandemic and “didn’t really feel in a position to converse freely” to the previous governor, “as recommendation that was opposite to the Chamber’s views was typically rejected.”

Cuomo has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and has vehemently defended his pandemic response.

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