New York publicizing lower COVID death count than fed figures

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has continued publicizing a much lower state COVID-19 death toll count than the numbers being presented to and displayed by the federal government, a new report revealed.

The state and federal coronavirus death toll differential has even widened this year to a current reported gap of 11,000 — despite numerous investigations into the Cuomo administration for lowballing the number of nursing home COVID-19 deaths, according to a review by the Associated Press.

News of New York’s undercount comes months after Florida Gov. Ron Desantis was erroneously accused of doing the same thing.

As of this week, New York publicized a COVID-19 death toll of roughly 43,000, compared to the Centers for Disease Control public tally of about 54,000.

The total, higher federal count, includes people who have died with coronavirus as a cause or contributing factor listed on their death certificate, the report said.

Cuomo has refused to include “probable” coronavirus fatalities in the state’s reporting, but New York City has done so since April 2020.

 a memorial installation for those who died of COVID-19 outside Green-Wood Cemetery in New York, the United States, on June 14, 2021
A memorial installation for those who died of COVID-19 outside Green-Wood Cemetery in New York, June 14, 2021.
Xinhua/Sipa USA

Many other states including Florida have taken approaches in line with the CDC, which includes in fatality counts all cases where COVID-19 is an associated or contributing factor.

A March Yahoo report, citing research published in the American Public Health Association, had suggested The Sunshine State’s skewed their COVID-19 numbers, basing the assessment off a discrepancy in the state’s excess-death count.

But an analysis by The Washington Post debunked allegations of undercounting in Florida.

a box with the cremated ashes of Dnynia Armstrong, center, a nursing home COVID-19 victim, surrounded with baskets of pinecones representing other nursing home pandemic deaths, is displayed during a news conference in New Yor
A box with the cremated ashes of Dnynia Armstrong, a nursing home COVID-19 victim, surrounded with baskets of pinecones representing other nursing home pandemic deaths, is displayed during a news conference in New York, March 21, 2021.
AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File

In New York, this year, CDC data shows 3,200 more COVID-19 deaths than the state’s own numbers.

“New York State reports every single COVID-19 death publicly – every confirmed death reported by hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities in the state tracker and all preliminary death certificate data, including unconfirmed cases and home deaths, to the federal government which in turn reports that data online, allowing the public full access to all of this detailed data on a daily basis,” a spokesperson for New York’s Department of Health told The Post.

News of New York’s latest “undercounting” has angered critics.

Haydee Pabey holds a picture of the deceased Elba Pabey as demonstrators gather for a rally decrying New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's handling of nursing homes during the previous years outbreak of COVID-19
Haydee Pabey holds a picture of the deceased Elba Pabey as demonstrators gather for a rally decrying Governor Andrew Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes during COVID-19.
AP Photo/John Minchillo

“The overall undercounting of COVID deaths is the nursing home scandal all over again,” said Bill Hammond, senior fellow at the Empire Center Center for Public Policy.

Hammond and the Empire Center filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against Cuomo after the state refused to release the total number of nursing home residents who died from the coronavirus.

A judge ruled the Cuomo administration violated the law and ordered them to release the complete data to the Empire Center.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was also accused of lowballing the number of COVID-19 deaths.
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

A separate stinging report by state Attorney General Letitia James found that the state was undercounting COVID-19 nursing home resident deaths by 50 percent.

“After what’s happened, Cuomo doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. You have to suspect the motives,” said Hammond.

“We knew they were violating the law on nursing homes. That was a political decision on their part to save face,” he added.

With Post wires

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