New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) sparked outrage after multiple reports on Wednesday night revealed that his administration had arranged VIP access to state-administered coronavirus testing for members of his family and other well-connected people last year.
The reports of special treatment further infuriated local lawmakers who had already called for his third term to be cut short amid parallel scandals involving the altering of COVID-19 death figures among nursing home residents during the early stages of the pandemic, in addition to a growing number of accusers lodging claims against the governor for sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior.
The latest development, revealing that the Cuomo administration had a top state doctor and other health officials visit family members and other influential figures to administer tests that were then rushed for immediate processing, has raised ethical questions and concerns that the move violated state law.
During the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, tests were exceedingly rare in New York, which quickly became the epicenter of the nation’s first wave of the virus.
In February 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was sending test specimens for processing to Atlanta, which caused grave delays. By the time that the Wadsworth Center, New York’s public health lab in Albany, received approval to begin coronavirus testing in-state — it appears that Cuomo’s family members were at the top of the list.
Here’s how New York officials and journalists responded to the news:
This season on New York’s own House of Cards starring Emmy award-winning @NYGovCuomo: A data cover up, sexual assault and toxic workplace allegations, nepotism, and pay-to-play politics. https://t.co/OjBNgoPopY
— Jessica Ramos (@jessicaramos) March 25, 2021
2020 was an excellent year for Cuomo. He reaped all the privileges of power. https://t.co/EL6mUcbNMp
— Ron T. Kim (@rontkim) March 24, 2021
Nobody surprised here. Should we also see how vaccines are being doled out right now. https://t.co/NCCXquVIer
— Yuh-Line Niou (@yuhline) March 25, 2021
As if we needed any more reasons why Andrew Cuomo should immediately resign in disgrace, this @timesunion report highlights how NY State Health Dept officials were sent to private residences to conduct preferential COVID testing on Cuomo’s relatives.https://t.co/GrM9W8fAc4
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) March 24, 2021
— Steve McLaughlin (@SteveMcNY) March 25, 2021
Residents in Corona are still anxiously confronting low vaccination rates while Cuomo was able to do this.
How is this not an abuse of power? https://t.co/F4r3SSjTBr
— Jessica González-Rojas (@votejgr) March 25, 2021
In light of the latest revelations about @NYGovCuomo, first reported in the @timesunion & @washingtonpost, Cuomo’s conduct of supplying scarce Covid testing for friends and family appears to be a clear violation of New York State Public Officers Law Part 74, Public Standards: pic.twitter.com/HqRmQW8dnr
— Zack Fink (@ZackFinkNews) March 25, 2021
Some of this family stuff shouldn’t happen in a democracy. But the “other high profile figures” piece…if those are donors, that has to be the last straw. https://t.co/l6u8e6gq9T
— Bill Lipton (@BillLipton) March 25, 2021
Reliving that moment almost a year ago when a New York ER sent me home with no treatment, no covid test and wished me luck. https://t.co/L1LYxDUyK0
— Mara Gay (@MaraGay) March 25, 2021