New York adds 12,000 COVID-19 deaths to tally after Cuomo exit

New York adds 12,000 COVID-19 deaths to tally after Cuomo exit
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Newly minted New York Gov. Kathy HochulKathy HochulThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Biden makes his pitch as tax questions mount Hochul gets early boost as NY gubernatorial race takes shape Woman accused of trying to set fire at Jewish school arrested in New York City MORE (D) has released updated data adding nearly 12,000 people to the state's official COVID-19 death toll following the end of the Cuomo administration.

On Monday, his last day in office, outgoing embattled New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Biden makes his pitch as tax questions mount Hochul gets early boost as NY gubernatorial race takes shape EMILY's List announces early endorsement of Hochul MORE (D) reported about 43,400 COVID-19 deaths across the state.

But late Tuesday, Hochul's administration said the state reported 55,400 fatalities, based on death certificate data submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Cuomo relied on a reporting system that only collected data for laboratory-confirmed deaths at hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities. It did not include people who died at home, in state prisons or in hospice care. It also did not count people with probable cases.

Hochul said her office was committed to transparency, and the state's daily dashboard of COVID data included both sets of numbers.

During an interview on NPR that aired Wednesday, she explained the differences between them.

"There are presumed and confirmed deaths. People should know both," Hochul said. "Also, as of yesterday, we're using CDC numbers, which will be consistent, and so there's no opportunity for us to mask those numbers, nor do I want to mask those numbers. The public deserves a clear, honest picture of what's happening. That's whether it's good or bad."

Cuomo had been dogged by accusations of obscuring the true death toll, especially the deaths in nursing homes across the state at the height of the pandemic.

A report from the state attorney general found Cuomo undercounted the number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50 percent.

New York only counted residents who died on nursing home property, rather than any who were transferred to hospitals. But according to the report, most of the deaths occurred in hospitals.