New York Governor Andrew Cuomo directed NY health officials to prioritize the governor's family and family in COVID tests. Allegedly, Cuomo gave preferential access to his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo. Also, he gave priority to his mother and at least one of his sisters. Even more, some family members reportedly received multiple tests.
VIP Access in COVID Tests
Multiple news organizations reported on the alleged preferential treatment. The articles cited unnamed sources with knowledge of the matter. They include reports about Cuomo’s prioritization of family members and VIP contacts. For example, Chris Cuomo, CNN anchor, and the Governor’s brother, reportedly had his tests taken at his Long Island residence. An unnamed source told the Times-Union that officials marked tests given to Cuomo’s family and VIPs as critical samples. The label ensures that they get priority processing ahead of others. Cuomo later tested positive for coronavirus.
New York is fast becoming home to reports of VIPs receiving preferential treatment ahead of priority age groups in dire need of testing. Some of the well-known public figures include NY Port Authority executive director Rick Cotton and his wife. Also in the VIP list is Patrick Foye, the head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authorities, and his spouse. In addition, media members and state legislators also received early access.
During the early days of the pandemic, COVID tests are in short supply. Given the shortage, health officials usually prioritized the first supplies to groups with the biggest risks like old people and front liners. Officials often advised New Yorkers and others to stay home and isolate themselves if they suspect themselves as infected.
Officials Deny They Received VIP Access
Cuomo administration officials denied receiving VIP treatment to COVID tests. Top adviser Richard Azzopardi dismissed the allegations. They were “insincere efforts to rewrite the past,” he exclaimed. “In the early days of this pandemic, when there was a heavy emphasis on contact tracing, we were absolutely going above and beyond to get people testing — including in some instances going to people’s homes, and door-to-door in places like New Rochelle — to take samples from those believed to have been exposed to COVID in order to identify causes and prevent additional ones,” Azzopardi said.
“Among those we assisted were members of the general public, including legislators, reporters, state workers and their families who feared they had contracted the virus and had the capability to further spread it,” he added.
NY Health Department Won’t Comment
State Health Department officials refused to comment on the allegations. “You’re asking professionals who took an oath to protect a patient’s privacy to violate that oath and compromise their integrity,” said Gary Holmes, a spokesman for the department of health. “More than 43 million New Yorkers have been tested, and commenting on any of them would be a serious violation of medical ethics. We’ve built a nation-leading testing infrastructure to ensure that anybody who needs a test could get one. That work continues today,” he added.
Cuomo Facing Fire From All Sides
Meanwhile, calls for the embattled governor to resign are increasing. At least eight women came forward to accuse Cuomo of alleged sexual harassment or misconduct. Currently, the State Attorney General’s Office and the State Assembly are investigating the claims.
In addition, other reports surfaced about the Governor's mishandling of the pandemic. Reportedly, the Cuomo administration mishandled the state’s nursing homes during the pandemic. Reportedly, the administration under-reported COVID-19 deaths in state nursing homes.
Watch the CBS news video reporting that a new controversy concerns COVID-19 testing for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's family:
Do you believe that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo abused his power for COVID tests? In addition, do you think he’s aware of the ramification of his decisions? Let us know what you think about Cuomo and his nepotism. Share your comments below.
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