New York Adds 12K COVID Deaths to Total as State Begins Using CDC Data Eschewed by Cuomo

New York has added 12,000 more deaths in the state to its COVID-19 death toll as it uses data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was eschewed by former Governor Andrew Cuomo.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul's administration has reported nearly 55,400 people in the state have died from the virus, up from about 43,400 that Cuomo had publicly reported as of Monday, his last day in office.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

New York COVID
New York has reported an additional 12,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19 based on CDC data that was eschewed by former Governor Andrew Cuomo. COVID-19 patients arrive to the Wakefield Campus of the Montefiore Medical Center on April 6, 2020 in the Bronx borough of New York City. John Moore/Getty Images

"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.

"There are presumed and confirmed deaths. People should know both," Hochul said in a Wednesday morning appearance on NPR. "Also, as of yesterday, we're using CDC numbers, which will be consistent. And so there's no opportunity for us to mask those numbers, nor do I want to mask those numbers. The public deserves a clear, honest picture of what's happening. And that's whether it's good or bad, they need to know the truth. And that's how we restore confidence."

Cuomo's critics had long charged he was manipulating coronavirus statics to burnish his image as a pandemic leader.

Federal prosecutors previously launched a probe examining his administration's handling of data around deaths among nursing home patients. The state, under Cuomo, had minimized its toll of nursing home residents' deaths by excluding all patients who died after being transferred to hospitals.

Cuomo used those lower numbers last year to erroneously claim that New York was seeing a much smaller percentage of nursing home residents dying of COVID-19 than other states.

The state Assembly Judiciary committee has also been investigating that issue as part of a wide-ranging impeachment probe, and is weighing whether to include those findings in a public report.

Kathy Hochul
New York Governor Kathy Hochul said her administration plans to be more transparent about COVID-related deaths. Hochul speaks to reporters after a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony at the state Capitol, Tuesday in Albany, New York. Hans Pennink/AP Photo