Hochul confirms: Cuomo underreported COVID death count -- by 12,000

“Transparency will be the hallmark of my administration,” Kathy Hochul told MSNBC’s Morning Joe — and at least for now, she’s delivering. On her first full day as New York’s governor, Hochul released the real data on COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes. That added over 12,000 deaths to the official total, confirming that now-disgraced former governor Andrew Cuomo had lied for over a year about his performance:

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul promised more government transparency on her first day in office and by day’s end her administration had quietly delivered it by acknowledging nearly 12,000 more deaths in the state from COVID-19 than had been publicized by her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo.

New York now reports nearly 55,400 people have died of COVID-19 in New York based on death certificate data submitted to the CDC, up from about 43,400 that Gov. Cuomo had reported to the public as of Monday, his last day in office.

“We’re now releasing more data than had been released before publicly, so people know the nursing home deaths and the hospital deaths are consistent with what’s being displayed by the CDC,” Hochul said Wednesday on MSNBC. “There’s a lot of things that weren’t happening and I’m going to make them happen. Transparency will be the hallmark of my administration.”

That’s a good start on transparency, especially in New York. However, as good as it is to see this officially recognized, it’s not exactly a tough call. The CDC gets its information from death certificates, as Allahpundit explained last month, and so everyone has known the correct total for months. Media outlets quit using Cuomo’s numbers months ago too, having finally lost their crush on the Love Gov in the avalanche of scandals that began rolling out after the exposure of the nursing-home cover-up. The only real impact of this will be to align the governor’s office reporting with literally everyone else’s.

Washington Post reporter Philip Bump pointed this out on Twitter, while noting that Hochul’s numbers do disclose a smaller number of previously uncounted COVID-19 deaths:

There’s value in this demonstration of Cuomo’s persistent dishonesty, of course, but that’s not a hard sell for Hochul. In her MSNBC hit, Hochul discusses the contentious relationship she had with Cuomo, claiming he tried to push her off the ticket. That doesn’t make a lot of sense, as New York elects lieutenant governors separately from governors, and her main opponent Jumaane Williams had endorsed Cuomo’s primary opponent Cynthia Nixon in the 2018 race. It does demonstrate, however, that there was little love lost between Cuomo and Hochul, which makes her transparency about Cuomo hardly surprising.

Let’s see what transparency means when Hochul’s the one making decisions, which brings us to the full Morning Joe segment with Hochul. While it may be understandable that the hosts gave Hochul some easy treatment for her first full day on the job, much of this comes across as the kind of rah-rah engagement that got media outlets criticized when they applied it to Cuomo. Put not your trust in princes, warns Psalm 143. You’d think we’d have learned that lesson already.