Emails: Chris Cuomo was offered rare blood plasma treatment while brother was governor

Emails: Chris Cuomo was offered rare blood plasma treatment while brother was governor
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As you may recall, back around Easter of 2020, former CNN personality Chris Cuomo came down with COVID. He made plenty of headlines at the time, though not just because of his illness. That was the same period of time when he went on a screaming rant against a bicyclist who saw him out of quarantine on a property he’d recently purchased in the Hamptons while failing to social distance from his family. (His wife later tested positive.) But as the New York Post reports this week, the younger Cuomo was offered some special family benefits as the sibling of the state’s then-governor, Andrew Cuomo. There was an experimental blood plasma therapy being tested at the time and it was unavailable to pretty much everyone who came down with the illness. But Cuomo was offered the treatment if he wanted to try it out.

At the height of the pandemic, the CEO of New York’s blood bank personally offered a coronavirus-stricken Chris Cuomo special access to an experimental therapy — virtually unobtainable by anyone unrelated to then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, emails reveal.

The half-billion-dollar New York Blood Center’s boss, Chris Hillyer, offered “convalescent plasma” to the then-governor’s CNN host brother Chris Cuomo, on April 17, 2020.

“Should the Cuomo family elect to take Dr. Hillyer up on his offer, his cell number is [redacted],” Mary Ann Tighe — a real-estate mogul who acted as a go-between — wrote, according to emails obtained by The Post through a Freedom of Information Law request.

Making this story even stranger is the fact that Cuomo turned down the experimental treatment. He said that it sounded “spooky” and that he didn’t want to “try something that extreme” when he wasn’t dying. Of course, he wasn’t above allowing the State Police to deliver COVID test kits to his door at a time when they were as scarce as hen’s teeth. And as the Post goes on to point out, turning his nose up at the plasma treatment was fairly insulting to the family of a teacher who died two weeks before after trying and failing to get access to the treatment.

This information was only one small part of a huge trove of emails between Chris Cuomo and the New York Executive Chamber from 2020 and 2021 released to the newspaper under the Freedom of Information Law. There’s a lot more material to come, including more on his efforts to help polish Andrew Cuomo’s reputation in the midst of all of the sexual abuse allegations.

But this blood plasma therapy issue really seems to be rubbing a lot of people in New York the wrong way. Even one of the Democratic Party officials who was asked to comment said, “I certainly hope the Blood Center isn’t offering better treatment to the most powerful.”

But that’s obviously what was going on. Andrew Cuomo ruled New York like an emperor and he made sure that his family and their inner circle sat at the most honored seats at the table. The people at the Blood Center clearly knew they needed to kiss the ring, so they made sure to let the Governor know that his little brother could have access to a potentially life-saving treatment that virtually nobody could access at the time.

And, as already mentioned, we know for a fact that test kits were regularly sent to Chris Cuomo’s home, delivered by State Police vehicles under the Governor’s orders. The test kits were only just beginning to go into production in April of 2020. They were literally impossible for any rank and file New Yorkers to obtain at any price. And yet somehow the Governor’s brother was being showered with them.

Just keep that in mind as Andrew Cuomo continues to push his “comeback” efforts, or at least an attempt to whitewash his ugly history. His top aide produced a television spot making it look as if he’s been completely exonerated and I’m still seeing it running on a daily basis on both CNN and the local Spectrum News channels. But these emails discovered by New York media outlets tell a far more accurate story of what was going on inside the Governor’s mansion back then. And a lot of it was far worse than some unwanted cheek-kissing.

UPDATE: The New York Blood Center contacted us with the following additional comment.

“In the spring of 2020, New York Blood Center became the first to collect COVID-19 convalescent plasma and New Yorkers turned out in droves for their neighbors. We were able to collect 10K donations throughout April and quickly had an adequate supply to meet demand at hospitals. The outreach to Chris Cuomo was part of a larger effort to get the new treatment to sick patients and spread the word about the need for recovered patients to donate plasma.”

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