New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reportedly gave special COVID-19 testing privileges to his family and other “well-connected figures” in the state, raising eyebrows since state laws ban officials “from using their positions to secure privileges for themselves or others.”
While people around New York struggled to obtain coronavirus testing, Cuomo and his administration organized special access to state testing for those close to him, a new report from the Washington Post suggests. Cuomo reportedly gave the green light for a “top state doctor” and other health officials to swab those receiving the special treatment at their homes and “immediately” process the results marked “only by initials or numbers” in a state lab, sometimes delivering the specimens by “state police troopers.”
“Initially, the lab was capable of running only several hundred tests a day for a state with 19 million residents,” the Washington Post reported, noting that “employees in the state health laboratory were kept past their shifts until late into the night to process results of those close to Cuomo.”
One of the alleged beneficiaries of this Cuomo-orchestrated prioritization was infamous CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, who repeatedly ran interference for his brother in the early months of the pandemic by joking around on live television and refusing to ask him questions about the rising nursing home death toll that resulted from the governor’s deadly policy.
Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for the governor, maintains it was well within the administration’s efforts to go “above and beyond” to test people including “legislators, reporters, state workers and their families who feared they had contracted the virus and had the capability to further spread it.”
CNN did not respond to The Federalist’s request for comment by press time, but a blanket statement from network spokesman Matt Dornic released on Wednesday night suggests the network also didn’t think the testing prioritization was a big deal.
“We generally do not get involved in the medical decisions of our employees. However, it is not surprising that in the earliest days of a once-in-a-century global pandemic, when Chris was showing symptoms and was concerned about possible spread, he turned to anyone he could for advice and assistance, as any human being would,” the statement concluded.
— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) March 25, 2021
The revelation of these potential ethical violations adds to a growing list of scandals pitted against Cuomo and his administration. The Democrat previously refused to resign, even after calls from Democratic leaders to step down, despite weeks of backlash over not only his concealment of approximately 15,000 COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes as a result of a policy from his office but also ongoing sexual harassment allegations from multiple former female aides, a current aide, and a fellow guest at a wedding.
“I’m not going to resign. I work for the people of the state of New York. They elected me, and I’m going to serve the people of the state in New York,” Cuomo told reporters. “I’m going to do the job the people of the state elected me to do.”