HYDE PARK, NY – Senator Sue Serino released the following in response to comments made today by the Governor at a Buffalo event in relation to COVID-19 deaths in New York’s nursing homes:
“The Governor can rewrite history all he wants, but the truth is the only people who played politics when it came to hiding the number of nursing home deaths in New York State are the members of his Administration who have now been caught doing so for months.
I first called for a full investigation into the state’s overall handling of the COVID crisis in nursing homes on May 7, 2020—at a time when the Governor’s approval rating was through the roof—and most would argue it was actually politically unpopular to criticize anything his Administration was doing at the time. I did so because it was the right thing to do. Families who were losing loved ones deserved answers. Having access to the real number of deaths could have provided a more accurate picture of the pandemic’s impact, which could have helped us improve the state’s response and maybe even saved lives.
Time and again, the Governor clearly put politics—and profit—over the residents of these facilities. It’s not right, and we will not stop pushing for truthful answers and real accountability.”
When asked today why his Administration hid the accurate number of nursing home deaths for so long, the Governor claimed the issue was simply politicized. He continued to argue that withholding the data was about ‘accuracy.’
Senator Serino countered that point saying, “If they were so concerned about ‘accuracy,’ then they would have withheld all the numbers until they were properly audited. Instead, they were okay with publicly releasing a blatant undercount that fit the Administration’s own political narrative. An undercount the Governor publicly bragged about repeatedly. The hypocrisy is stunning. New Yorkers—especially these vulnerable residents and their loved ones—deserve so much better.”
Senator Serino is the Ranking Member of the Senate’s Aging Committee.