In yet another potential scandal for the already-embattled Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.), a new report claims that his family members and others with close ties to his administration were given special priority with regards to early testing procedures for the coronavirus, according to The Hill.
The report, which first came from the Albany Times Union, says that Cuomo’s Health Commissioner Howard Zucker ordered the New York State Department of Health to give priority to those who Cuomo himself specifically designated, which included his brother, his mother, and one of his sisters. Such testing was conducted in their own private residences, with the officials from the Health Department going out of their way to travel to their homes just to give them the tests.
One of the anonymous sources who came forward with the story described such prioritized testing as “a complete time-suck away from other duties,” putting the safety of the governor’s family ahead of the broader statewide testing efforts that were supposed to help all citizens of New York state.
One of Cuomo’s senior advisers, Richard Azzopardi, dismissed the claims as “insincere efforts to rewrite the past.” Gary Holmes, a spokesman for the State Department of Health, lumped in these cases with all the other “43 million” regular tests that were conducted across the state, claiming that discussing any particular instances “would be a serious violation of medical ethics.”
Cuomo is in the midst of two major scandals that have left a majority of elected officials in the state of New York calling for his resignation or impeachment. The first is the revelation that his administration deliberately covered up the true number of deaths from the coronavirus that occurred in nursing homes throughout the state, after his administration ordered nursing homes to accept patients who were confirmed to have the virus. The second is a wave of sexual harassment and assault allegations from nine different women who have worked for Cuomo in the past. He is facing multiple investigations, including an impeachment inquiry from the State Assembly and a separate investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D-N.Y.).