There were reports as far back as last August that New York was hiding the true number of nursing home deaths. “New York’s coronavirus death toll in nursing homes, already among the highest in the nation, could actually be a significant undercount,” the Associated Press reported at the time.

And today we found out why it happened.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s top aide told state Democrats on a conference call that they had refused to give out information on nursing home deaths last year because they were worried about a DOJ investigation:

The stunning admission of a cover-up was made by Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa during a video conference call with state Democratic leaders in which she said the Cuomo administration had rebuffed a legislative request for the tally in August because “right around the same time, [then-President Donald Trump] turns this into a giant political football,” according to an audio recording of the two-hour-plus meeting…

In addition to attacking Cuomo’s fellow Democratic governors, DeRosa said, Trump “directs the Department of Justice to do an investigation into us.”

“And basically, we froze,” she told the lawmakers on the call.

This is special pleading from one Democrat to another, i.e. please give us a pass on this because Trump. Even the Democrats on the call found that hard to swallow:

Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens), who took part in the call, told The Post on Thursday that DeRosa’s remarks sounded “like they admitted that they were trying to dodge having any incriminating evidence that might put the administration or the [Health Department] in further trouble with the Department of Justice.”

“That’s how I understand their reasoning of why they were unable to share, in real time, the data,” Kim said.

“They had to first make sure that the state was protected against federal investigation.”

Kim lost an uncle to the virus and wonders why team Cuomo is apologizing to elected Democrats but not to the public for this.

Last month NY Attorney General Letitia James published a damning report that revealed the state had intentionally undercounted the number of nursing home deaths by up to 50 percent. The same report by New York’s AG concluded the governor’s order that nursing homes must accept COVID patients from hospitals, “may have contributed to increased risk of nursing home resident infection, and subsequent fatalities.” So this belated revelation of what they were up to is clearly a case of now it can be told.

All along, Cuomo’s response has been to shrug off the whole thing. After the AG’s report came out he said, “Who cares…died in the hospital, died in a nursing home? They died.”