Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul speaks during her visit to Louis Armstrong New York City Public School 143 in New York, August 18, 2021.
David ‘Dee’ Delgado | Reuters
The new administration of New York Governor Kathy Hochul admitted nearly 12,000 more deaths from the coronavirus than her predecessor Andrew Cuomo publicly counted to share broader data on the toll of the pandemic in her state.
The governor’s office counted 55,395 Covid deaths in the Empire State – the balance sheet of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – in a press release Tuesday evening.
This number summarizes the deaths from the virus in any location in New York. It’s significantly higher than the 43,415 deaths reported by the Hospital Emergency Response Data System (HERDS), which only counts deaths reported by hospitals, nursing homes, and adult care facilities.
The lower second record, which omits Covid deaths that have occurred in other settings such as homes or hospices, was presented to the public and on the State Department of Health website under Cuomo.
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Cuomo came under fire for publicizing the more conservative figure, even though the number of Covid deaths in New York City coincided with that of the CDC.
Hochul’s office on Tuesday included both numbers with an explanation for each. She took office the day before after Cuomo resigned in a sexual harassment scandal.
In interviews on Wednesday morning, the new governor said her administration would use the CDC’s numbers as part of a pressure for more transparency after taking over Cuomo. His government has been accused of underreporting Covid deaths in nursing homes by up to 50%.
“As of yesterday, we have been using CDC numbers that will be consistent,” Hochul said on NPR. “So there is no way for us to mask these numbers, and I wouldn’t want to mask these numbers either.”
“I’ll take a completely different approach,” the governor told MSNBC separately. “Transparency is only starting today, we are now releasing more data than was previously publicly released so people know that nursing home deaths and hospital deaths are in line with the CDC.”
“There are a lot of things that didn’t happen and I’ll make them come true,” she said. “Transparency will be my government’s hallmark.”