Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

There are less than 72 hours left in this Mid-Year Campaign and our independent journalism needs your help today.
If you value our work, please support Common Dreams. This is our hour of need.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is seen on the House steps of the Capitol on December 4, 2020. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is seen on the House steps of the Capitol on December 4, 2020. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Ocasio-Cortez Calls for Probe of Cuomo's Disastrous Handling of Covid-19 Outbreaks in Nursing Homes

"Thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers lost their lives in nursing homes throughout the pandemic," she said. "Their loved ones and the public deserve answers and transparency from their elected leadership."

Kenny Stancil

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Friday joined a chorus of state and local officials demanding a probe of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's catastrophic response to the coronavirus pandemic in the Empire State's nursing homes.

"I... stand with our local officials calling for a full investigation of the Cuomo administration's handling of nursing homes during Covid-19," the prominent Democratic lawmaker, who represents New York's 14th Congressional District, said in a statement released Friday.

Ocasio-Cortez added that remarks made earlier this month by Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, Cuomo's top aide, "warrant a full investigation."

In a video conference call with state Democratic legislators last week, DeRosa admitted that the administration withheld data on coronavirus deaths in nursing homes because Cuomo, a Democrat, feared the full picture would "be used against us" in a federal investigation by then-President Donald Trump's Justice Department.

DeRosa's remarks came two weeks after New York Attorney General Letitia James, also a Democrat, released a report accusing the Cuomo administration of undercounting Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50%. As Axios reported, Cuomo shrugged off James' allegations, saying: "Who cares [if they] died in the hospital, died in a nursing home? They died."

Cuomo, who in October 2020 published a self-congratulatory book about his response to the pandemic, "has dismissed claims of wrongdoing," The Guardian reported Friday. The governor said "information was not produced fast enough, which created 'a void. And conspiracy theories and politics and rumors fill that void and you can't allow inaccurate information to go unanswered.'"

As Common Dreams reported Thursday, Cuomo has publicly lashed out at—and reportedly threatened to "destroy"—state Assemblyman Ron Kim, one of the few Democratic lawmakers willing to criticize the powerful governor months ago over his disastrous approach to nursing homes during the pandemic.

In July of last year, Kim demanded the creation of an independent, bipartisan panel to investigate the Cuomo administration's handling of long-term care facilities during the coronavirus crisis. The assemblyman also called on the governor to be fully transparent about the Covid-19 death toll in New York's nursing homes, which he and other lawmakers believed was being significantly undercounted by the state government.

As Common Dreams reported in May 2020, Cuomo was widely criticized for taking two months to revoke the New York state health department's directive, issued last March, requiring nursing homes to accept still-recovering Covid-19 patients despite the lethal risk they posed to other vulnerable residents in long-term care facilities.

DeRosa's comments have not only vindicated Kim and other early critics but also led to allegations of a cover-up and growing scrutiny of the administration.

The Cuomo administration now finds itself at the center a full-fledged investigation by the FBI and U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of New York, the Albany Times-Union reported Wednesday.

In addition, Democratic leaders of the New York State Senate are beginning efforts to repeal Cuomo's "unilateral emergency powers granted during the pandemic, setting up a remarkable rebuke for the governor from members of his own party," the New York Times reported Wednesday.

Ocasio-Cortez's intervention puts even more pressure on Cuomo.

"Thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers lost their lives in nursing homes throughout the pandemic," the progressive congresswoman said. "Their loved ones and the public deserve answers and transparency from their elected leadership."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Markey, Bowman Join Climate Coalition in Urging SCOTUS Expansion

"We cannot sit idly by," said Markey, "as extremists on the Supreme Court eviscerate the authorities that the government has had for decades to combat climate change and reduce pollution."

Brett Wilkins ·


Ocasio-Cortez Says US 'Witnessing a Judicial Coup in Process'

"It is our duty to check the Court's gross overreach of power in violating people's inalienable rights and seizing for itself the powers of Congress and the president."

Brett Wilkins ·


Critics Say Biden Drilling Bonanza 'Won't Lower Gas Prices' But 'Will Worsen Climate Crisis'

"President Biden's massive public lands giveaway in the face of utter climate catastrophe is just the latest sign that his climate commitments are mere rhetoric," said one campaigner.

Kenny Stancil ·


Grave Warnings as Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case That Threatens 'Future of Voting Rights'

"Buckle up," implores one prominent legal scholar. "An extreme decision here could fundamentally alter the balance of power in setting election rules in the states and provide a path for great threats to elections."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Urged to Take Emergency Action After 'Disastrous' Climate Ruling by Supreme Court

"The catastrophic impact of this decision cannot be understated," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, but "we cannot accept defeat."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo