Buried in transcripts from Attorney General Letitia James’ sex-harassment probe is evidence of more wounds to COVID-era New York inflicted by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo: His rigid micromanaging of the state Health Department prevented experts from helping local officials cope with the pandemic.
Dr. Elizabeth Dufort, the former medical director of the department’s office of epidemiology, told probers that Team Cuomo didn’t let state health officials collaborate with their local-government counterparts. “There was a desire for messaging to come from the governor, not multiple people as it normally happens in an outbreak,” she testified.
In short, Cuomo’s demand to seem in command trumped actually beating the virus. State experts couldn’t even do webinars with local health officials, Dufort said. And the gov’s “enforcer,” Linda Lacewell, would routinely scream at state health officials for failing to toe the worship-Andrew line.
Just as with Cuomo’s deadly, lobbyist-driven orders for care homes to admit COVID-contagious patients, we’ll never know exactly how many lives were lost to this madness. But having lawyers and political hacks stop medical experts from sharing info and advice surely deepened New York’s losses.
Renssalaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin (R) was one of the few to stand up to Team Cuomo, refusing to admit COVID-19 patients to the county-run nursing home and calling out Cuomo’s refusal to consult with county health departments.
We’ve long said Cuomo needed to go for bigger reasons than the (themselves outrageous and notably numerous) harassment allegations. It’s all too telling that even an investigation of that sleaze uncovered deadly malfeasance.