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Gov. Andrew Cuomo has his story about why he and his staffers hid New York’s nursing home death toll from COVID-19 — and he’s sticking to it.
One day after a report alleged that state officials repeatedly suppressed information about the fatalities, Cuomo claimed Thursday that “the concern for the state was that we provide accurate numbers.”
“It’s not than anyone was trying to secret a number,” he said during a news conference in Buffalo, repeating an oft-used excuse.
“Because it wasn’t about the number. It was about the accuracy of the number.”
Cuomo also again tried to blame the admitted cover-up — which is among the subjects of a state Assembly impeachment investigation — on former President Donald Trump.
Cuomo said Trump had the Department of Justice launch a “political investigation” into the nursing home policies enacted by him and three other Democratic governors.
“And that then, quote-unquote, freezes the situation, because the lawyers say we have to be very, very careful,” he claimed.
“This was all politics and all a political football that then morphed into an investigation, which made all the lawyers very careful about what the information they put out was.”
Cuomo’s reference to “freezes the situation” echoed a February remark made by his top aide, Melissa DeRosa, when she privately told Democratic lawmakers that his administration withheld nursing home death data due to the federal probe.
At the time, DeRosa recalled how Trump “directs the Department of Justice to do an investigation into us.”
“And basically, we froze,” she said, according to an audio recording exclusively revealed by The Post.
Also during Thursday’s news conference, Cuomo repeatedly tried to downplay the importance of exactly how many nursing home residents died by challenging reporters to give him the total number of fatalities.
According to the latest Health Department statistics posted online, that figure was 13,857 as of Tuesday.
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