March 8, 2021

Around the nation: Cuomo's top aides reportedly omitted Covid-19 nursing home deaths in report

Daily Briefing

    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) top aides allegedly pressured state health officials to remove data showing more than 9,000 nursing home residents had died of Covid-19 from a July 2020 report, sources have told multiple news outlets, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California, New York, and Michigan.

    • California: The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance on Wednesday announced nine great apes at the San Diego Zoo had become the first nonhuman primates to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus. The alliance said four orangutans and five bonobos had received two doses of an experimental vaccine developed by the veterinary pharmaceuticals company Zoetis. Zoo officials asked Zoetis to help vaccinate its apes after a group of the zoo's gorillas tested positive for the coronavirus in January (Peiser, Washington Post, 3/5; Gorman, New York Times, 3/5).
    • California/Michigan: Apple on Tuesday released new data from its study examining hearing health among thousands of iPhone and Apple Watch users in the United States using the company's Noise app, which alerts users when noise levels are at potentially dangerous levels. Data from the study, which is being conducted in collaboration with University of Michigan School of Public Health, showed 25% of participants experience a daily average of environmental sound exposure considered higher than the World Health Organization's (WHO's) recommended limit. The data also showed nearly 50% of participants worked in a loud environment, 20% showed hearing loss based on WHO's standards, and 10% had headphone exposure higher than WHO's recommended limit (Mitchell, Becker's Health IT, 3/3).
    • New York: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) senior aides allegedly pressured state health officials to remove data showing more than 9,000 nursing home residents had died of Covid-19 from a July 2020 report, sources have told multiple news outlets. Cuomo's aides revised the report to focus on the 6,432 nursing home residents who had died of Covid-19 in long-term care facilities and exclude those who had died in hospitals after contracting the virus in nursing homes. In response to questions about data, Beth Garvey, special counsel and senior advisor to the governor, in a statement Thursday, said, "The out of facility data was omitted after [the New York State Department of Health] could not confirm it had been adequately verified." According to the New York Times, the Cuomo administration released complete data on the number of nursing home residents who died of Covid-19 earlier this year, after New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) revealed Cuomo's administration had severely undercounted Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes (Goodman/Hakim, New York Times, 3/5; Palazzolo et. al., Wall Street Journal, 3/4).
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