New York’s new governor said Wednesday that the state’s COVID-19 death toll now matches the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s tally after the state added nearly 12,000 deaths. The administration of former Governor Andrew Cuomo has not officially counted it.
Democratic Gov. Cathy Hochhol’s announcement means New York’s Covid-19 death toll now stands at 55,395, a huge jump for Count Como, who resigned earlier this week.
Nearly 12,000 deaths are not new, but the Cuomo administration recorded deaths from an internal reporting system that only counted hospitals, nursing homes and adult care centers. It did not take into account data from death certificates submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which included deaths anywhere, including at home.
“As of yesterday, we are using the CDC numbers, which will be consistent. So there is no chance for us to hide these numbers, and I don’t want to hide these numbers,” Hochhol told NPR on Wednesday. “The public deserves a clear and honest picture of what’s going on.”
The decision by Hochul, who served as Cuomo’s deputy governor before taking office on Tuesday (24), is the first sign of her stated commitment to transparency as the new governor of the state, which has been the epicenter of the pandemic in the state. Coronaviruses in the United States in early 2020.
Hochhol’s office said in a statement that the number of new deaths was calculated from “provisional death certificate data reported by the New York State Department of Health to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and includes those who died in any of those including hospitals, nursing homes, and adult care facilities, in Home, nursing homes and other places.”
The state commission is now submitting both numbers — New York’s Electronic Health Response Data System as well as the CDC — to give New Yorkers a more complete picture of the state of public health, Hochhol told NPR.
Cuomo, who along with his administration has been widely criticized for its Covid-19 death toll calculations, reported 43,404 total Covid-19 deaths on Monday during his final hours as governor.
The governor resigned at the risk of being impeached in the state legislature. The Como Health Department was also investigated earlier this year for underreporting Covid-19-related deaths in nursing homes by about 50%, the state attorney general found.
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