New York governor Andrew Cuomo had directed the state’s health officials to prioritize the COVID-19 testing for his own family members and personal associates during the early days of the pandemic, according to a report published on Wednesday.
Cuomo’s family members, including his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, were among the members who received preferential treatment for the COVID-19 testing along with his mother and one of his sisters.
New York health commissioner Howard Zucker personally directed the health officials to prioritize the COVID-19 testing for the governor’s family members.
Some of the family members were administered multiple tests as well. Chris Cuomo was tested at his home in Long Island. These tests were referred to as “critical samples” and were processed ahead of other testing samples.
Influential people are believed to have been prioritized for the COVID-19 testing in the early days of the pandemic due to their connections with Governor Cuomo. The list includes Rick Cotton, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey along with his wife. Patrick Foye, Head of New York Metropolitan Transportation Authorities and his wife. Many unnamed media personnel and state legislators also got themselves tested because of Gov. Cuomo’s influence as per the report.
The Cuomo administration officials have denied any such preferential treatment. One of the top advisers to Cuomo, Richard Azzopardi has claimed that the allegations are insincere efforts to rewrite the past.
He further claimed that during the early days of the pandemic, everything was haywire and the health officials went above and beyond their limits to get people tested. They even went to people’s homes in places like New Rochelle to take samples. Many got themselves exposed to the COVID-19 during that exercise.
He also claimed that the report has been published to tarnish their efforts in curtailing the novel coronavirus.
This bombshell report will further affect Cuomo’s political career. He is also facing pressure to resign amidst the sexual harassment charges put forward by eight women who were his former aides. The New York State Attorney General’s Office and the State Assembly are already investigating the claims, meanwhile, another federal authority is probing the members of the Cuomo administration against nursing home death data cover-up.