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Feb. 12, 2021, 3:53 p.m. EST

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo takes heat after withholding nursing-home death data

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By Jimmy Vielkind

ALBANY, N.Y. — Officials in both political parties on Friday rebuked New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo after learning his administration held off releasing a fuller accounting of Covid-19 deaths in the state’s nursing homes out of its fear that former President Donald Trump’s administration would politicize the information.

A top aide to the Democratic governor told Democratic state lawmakers in a private meeting this week that a U.S. Department of Justice probe last year prompted the Cuomo administration to sideline a request from state legislators to say how many nursing-home residents died from the virus after they were transferred to hospitals.

The New York Post on Thursday night first reported the details of the Wednesday meeting based on a recording. The Cuomo administration released a partial transcript of the meeting on Friday.

“We froze,” Melissa DeRosa, the governor’s secretary, said according to the transcript. “We were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice or what we give to you guys and what we start saying was going to be used against us and we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation.”

An expanded version of this article appears on WSJ.com.

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