Following the chaotic rollout of New York’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts, and following the January 28, 2021 release of New York Attorney General Letitia James’s report on COVID-19 in nursing homes, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has received a good bit of negative feedback.
He deserves it.
In recent days, the Governor has been criticized for having junked the state’s existing vaccination plan in favor of a hospital-centric model that has not been a model of success. He has also faced criticism for having sidelined public health experts and having instead relied on hospital administrators and on his own aides to coordinate vaccinations. The New York Times reported that nine high-level public health officials had left the Cuomo administration in recent months due to frustration with the Governor’s overly controlling management style and unwillingness to communicate.
Gov. Cuomo has also experienced a setback in court. On February 3, acting Albany Supreme Court Justice Kimberly O’Connor ruled against the Cuomo administration in a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) lawsuit filed by the Empire Center for Public Policy regarding data on COVID-19 deaths of nursing home residents. According to the New York Post, Justice O’Connor chided the Health Department for repeatedly telling the Empire Center that it could not respond to their FOIL request and for failing to provide an adequate explanation for its delays. Justice O’Connor ordered the DOH to turn over the requested records within five days. lasted the DOH for repeatedly telling the Empire Center for Public Policy “that it was unable to respond to the [Freedom of Information Law] request” that was filed six months ago.
Meanwhile, State Senate Republicans—led by Sen. Tom O’Mara (R-Big Flats)—have continued to push for Democratic legislators to subpoena Health Commissioner Howard Zucker to answer more questions about the state’s data on COVID-19 in nursing homes.