New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been severely criticised for his response to the deadly coronavirus pandemic and an undercounting of deaths at nursing homes in the state. Cuomo is also facing the real possibility of being impeached after sexual assault accusations from multiple women.
Last year, Cuomo with Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, ordered state Health Department officials to conduct prioritised COVID-19 testing for some of the governor’s family members, including his mother, brother, and one of his sisters, along with several people in the state’s administration, the Albany Times-Union reported on Wednesday, citing anonymous sources.
According to the newspaper, tests were done several times for Cuomo’s relatives by high-level state Department of Health officials in private residences and samples were reportedly delivered to laboratories by state police troopers.
Among those who were allegedly tested “out of turn” is executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and his wife, along with the head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Patrick J. Foye, and his wife, as well as a number of other state legislators and their staff. There is no indication, according to the Albany Times-Union, that the samples were taken for them by high-ranking medical staff.
A person said to be familiar with the matter told the news outlet that Cuomo’s alleged actions distracted high-level Health Department officials from their duties while they were taking tests at private residences. Given the circumstances of the raging COVID-19 pandemic, the effects of such purported behaviour could have apparently led to a worsening of the overall situation.
“To be doing sort of direct clinical work was a complete time-suck away from their other duties. It was like wartime”, the source said.