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CNN's Cuomo received multiple special visits from NY state doctor: report

CNN anchor Chris CuomoChris CuomoDOJ: Arizona recount could violate civil rights laws Haaland: Santorum's Native American comments 'unfortunate' CNN's Jake Tapper questions giving some GOP leaders airtime MORE and his family received multiple visits from a New York State Department of Health physician last year, even more attention than others connected to his brother, New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Infrastructure, Cheney ouster on deck as Congress returns Sanders: Reinstating SALT deduction 'sends a terrible, terrible message' New York attorney general expanding Cuomo investigation: report MORE (D), who received preferred treatment, The Washington Post reported Monday.

“A top state physician whose pandemic portfolio involved coordinating testing in nursing homes was dispatched multiple times to the Hamptons home of CNN host Chris Cuomo, the governor’s brother, in testing visits that sometimes stretched hours,” the Post reported.

The special treatment detailed in the Post report included being given priority at testing centers where state troopers were waiting to rush test samples to the labs. People included in the Cuomo inner circle received their results in hours or days, while other New Yorkers had to wait up to a week.

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Chris Cuomo did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hill about the new revelations. A CNN spokesperson also did not immediately respond to similar requests from The Hill.

However, CNN spokesman Matt Dornic told the Post that CNN generally does “not comment on employees’ medical care, and we have nothing more to add.”

Responding to the Post, New York state officials denied that a relationship with the governor resulted in special treatment for anyone. Many New Yorkers were eligible for priority testing, including members of the general public at high risk, they said.

The idea that some New Yorkers received special treatment was “not factually accurate,” a spokesperson for the New York State Department of Health said in a statement given to the Post. 

In addition, a spokesman for the governor denied there was a "VIP" program and that the governor was not aware that Cuomo family members were allegedly prioritized at testing centers.

However, several staffers, quoted anonymously by the Post, said they had slang names for the people benefiting from the favoritism, calling them “priorities,” “specials,” “inner circle” or “criticals.” Also, those familiar with the activities told the Post that they were directed to treat certain people because of their ties to the governor.

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Chris Cuomo announced he had been tested for the coronavirus on March 31, 2020.

“And yet I'm hesitant to talk about me because who cares. This is so small compared to what so many are facing,” Cuomo said while announcing the positive results on his show. 

His brother also announced the news the same day at a COVID-19 press conference.

“Everyone is subject to this virus. It is the great equalizer,” Andrew Cuomo said. “I don't care how smart and how rich, how powerful you think you are. I don't care how young, how old this virus is. The great equalizer. My brother Chris is positive for coronavirus. Found out this morning.” 

The reports about Chris Cuomo receiving special treatment is just the latest negative story circulating around the governor, who is facing calls to resign of sexual harassment allegations. A 10th woman made claims against the governor this week. 

The governor is also under the microscope for how nursing home deaths in the state from the coronavirus were counted by the state.

CNN and Chris Cuomo have come under scrutiny for their coverage of the governor. During the first six months of the pandemic, Andrew Cuomo regularly appeared on Chris Cuomo's show. Chris Cuomo said he would not be covering his brother after the harassment allegations surfaced.

Matthew Hall, national president of the Society of Professional Journalists called on CNN to investigate Chris Cuomo and for him to publicly discuss the allegations both on his show and with reporters from outside CNN.