by Andrew Kerr
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration continues to undercount COVID-19 deaths in its own public reporting, months after it admitted to undercounting nursing home deaths from the virus by thousands.
New York’s state-managed tracker reported over 43,000 deaths from COVID-19 as of Wednesday morning, a figure more than 20 percent smaller than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s tally of nearly 55,000 in the state, which is based on death certificates that list COVID-19 as a cause or contributing factor to an individual’s death.
The Cuomo administration’s COVID-19 death reporting is substantially smaller than the federal government’s because the administration only reports laboratory-confirmed virus deaths that occurred at hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities in its state tracker. The Cuomo administration’s tally deliberately excludes individuals who died at their homes, hospices, state prisons or at state-run homes for those with disabilities, according to the Associated Press, which first reported New York’s ongoing undercounting on Tuesday.
A spokeswoman for the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) confirmed in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation the state reports all COVID-19 deaths to the CDC, but only report deaths that occurred in hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities in its own state tracker.
The statement added that, because the Cuomo administration provides full COVID-19 death figures to the CDC, and in turn the CDC reports that data publicly, the public has full access to the full scope of COVID-19 deaths in New York state through the CDC.
“New York State reports every single COVID-19 death publicly – every confirmed death reported by hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities in the state tracker and all preliminary death certificate data, including unconfirmed cases and home deaths, to the federal government which in turn reports that data online, allowing the public full access to all of this detailed data on a daily basis,” NYSDOH spokeswoman Jill Montag told the DCNF.
However, Montag did not respond when asked why the New York State Department of Health deliberately omits the full scope of COVID-19 deaths in the state in its own public-facing tracker.
Bob Anderson, the chief of the Mortality Statistics Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, questioned why New York’s count was so much smaller than the federal government’s, noting that the state is providing the federal government with death certificate information for all COVID-19 fatalities in the state.
“It’s a little strange,” Anderson told the AP. “They’re providing us with the death certificate information so they have it. I don’t know why they wouldn’t use those numbers.”
New York’s undercounting of total COVID-19 deaths bears close similarities to how the Cuomo administration deliberately undercounted nursing home deaths in the state for much of 2020.
The Daily Caller News Foundation first reported in April 2020 that the Cuomo administration was omitting from its reporting nursing home residents who had died from COVID-19 while physically at their facility and not at a hospital.
The Cuomo administration confirmed in January it had undercounted nursing home deaths in the state by over 4,200.
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Andrew Kerr is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.