New York Governor Kathy Hochul promised more government transparency on her first day in office and by day’s end her administration had quietly delivered it by acknowledging nearly 12,000 more deaths in the state from COVID-19 than had been publicized by her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo.
New York now reports nearly 55,400 people have died of COVID-19 in New York-based on death certificate data submitted to the CDC, up from about 43,400 that Gov. Cuomo had reported to the public as of Monday, his last day in office.
“We’re now releasing more data than had been released before publicly, so people know the nursing home deaths and the hospital deaths are consistent with what’s being displayed by the CDC,” Hochul said Wednesday on MSNBC. “There’s a lot of things that weren’t happening and I’m going to make them happen. Transparency will be the hallmark of my administration.”
The Associated Press first reported in July on the large discrepancy between the fatality numbers publicized by the Cuomo administration and numbers the state was reporting to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The count used by Cuomo in his news media briefings only included laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 deaths reported through a state system that collects data from hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities. That meant the tally excluded people who died at home, hospice, in state prisons or at state-run homes for people living with disabilities. It also excluded people who likely died of COVID-19 but never got a positive test to confirm the diagnosis.
That lower number favored by the Cuomo administration still appeared in the daily update put out by Hochul’s office Tuesday, but with an explanation about why it was an incomplete count.