Watchdog Sues HHS for CDC-NY Docs on COVID Death Counts

Watchdog Sues HHS for CDC-NY Docs on COVID Death Counts New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo providing COVID-19 update. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo provides COVID update from the Javits Center in Manhattan on May 11. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

By Eric Mack | Wednesday, 09 June 2021 01:04 PM

Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit Wednesday seeking communications between the federal government and New York state in reporting COVID-19 deaths.

The information request centers around the investigations being conducted on the alleged cover-up of COVID-19 deaths by the staff of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, long-term-care facilities in the state, or the state Health Department.

"We have little confidence that Gov. Cuomo's corrupt political allies in D.C. and N.Y. will do a competent investigation of his nursing home scandal," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton wrote in a statement. "This new lawsuit aims to allow the American people to find out now, not years from now, what Gov. Cuomo is hiding."

The lawsuit was filed against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and calls for information on communications from the Trump administration's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield and New York and federal government officials.

Judicial Watch claims HHS failed to respond to a March 11, 2021, FOIA request for emails sent to and from Director Redfield on New York COVID-19 deaths as reported by New York government officials, and others with accounts ending in and/or, on the "veracity" of New York's death numbers.

Judicial Watch has also sued HHS for records about New York and Pennsylvania nursing home policies and procedures after those two states being among the ones to have mandated long-term-care facilities take in COVID-19 infected patients at the start of the pandemic.

The investigation into the potential cover-up in New York comes after New York Attorney General Letitia James has evidence "the nursing home death count could be off by about 50%."

In January, Gov. Cuomo's administration "confirmed thousands more nursing home residents died of COVID-19 than the state's official tallies had previously acknowledged, with some suggesting the count only showed seniors who died in nursing homes, instead of residents who left to be treated at a hospital and ultimately died there.

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