The Cuomos, Coronavirus, and CNN
[guest post by JVW]
It’s an all-too-believable yet also unbelievable story of privilege:
High-level members of the state Department of Health were directed last year by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker to conduct prioritized coronavirus testing on the governor’s relatives as well as influential people with ties to the administration, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter.
Members of Cuomo’s family including his brother, his mother and at least one of his sisters were also tested by top health department officials — some several times, the sources said.
The medical officials enlisted to do the testing, which often took place at private residences, included Dr. Eleanor Adams, an epidemiologist who graduated from Harvard Medical School and in August became a special adviser to Zucker. Adams conducted testing on Cuomo’s brother Chris at his residence on Long Island, according to the two people.
Of course Team Cuomo disagrees, and wants to try and assure us that everyone who was exposed to the virus received the same red carpet treatment:
Officials in the Cuomo administration said the testing in those early days of the pandemic in March 2020 was not preferential, and they noted public nurses were being driven to private residences in New Rochelle — the site of the state’s first outbreak — to test people who were symptomatic or who had been exposed to the virus. During that period, State Police troopers were largely being tasked with driving those samples to the Wadsworth Center laboratory in Albany, which was initially the primary testing spot for coronavirus.
“It’s being a little bit distorted with like a devious intent. … We made sure to test people they believed were exposed,” an official in Cuomo’s office said on background. “All of this was being done in good faith in an effort to trace the virus.”
Richard Azzopardi, a senior adviser to the governor, characterized the allegations of preferential treatment as “insincere efforts to rewrite the past.”
“In the early days of this pandemic, when there was a heavy emphasis on contact tracing, we were absolutely going above and beyond to get people testing — including in some instances going to people’s homes, and door-to-door in places like New Rochelle — to take samples from those believed to have been exposed to COVID in order to identify cases and prevent additional ones,” Azzopardi said. “Among those we assisted were members of the general public, including legislators, reporters, state workers and their families who feared they had contracted the virus and had the capability to further spread it.”
Geography note: New Rochelle, where the initial outbreak took place, is not on Long Island, where the Christopher Cuomo family resides. If Mr. Azzopardi is being truthful (and given whom he works for, it’s highly unlikely) about the contact tracing in a variety of communities, then we would expect that all of Chris Cuomo’s colleagues at CNN also had doctors and nurses appearing on their doorsteps with testing kits in hand, but I am going to go out on a limb and guess that didn’t actually happen. The Albany paper quotes a source who disagrees with Mr. Azzopardi’s exculpatory assessment:
Still, one of the people familiar with the matter said that the people with close ties to the governor, including his relatives, would have their samples moved to the front of the line at Wadsworth and be given priority. They were referred to as “critical samples.”
Another person familiar with the matter said the “sampling missions” had unsettled some of the high-level health department officials tasked with collecting the samples at private residences — including Adams, who had previously worked in the health department’s New York City regional office for the Healthcare Epidemiology & Infection Control Program.
“To be doing sort of direct clinical work was a complete time-suck away from their other duties,” the person said. “It was like wartime.”
I’m not a big fan of anonymous officials making strong claims of administration wrongdoing, but given what we know about the bullying mafia-like (yeah, I went there) atmosphere in the Cuomo Administration I can, in this instance, completely understand it.
And the tiresome gaggle of twits over at CNN have really stepped in it with a lame defense of Team Cuomo, who brightened the network’s spring COVID coverage with their delightful brotherly antics which firmly established Andrew Cuomo as the best Empire State Governor since at least George Clinton and a hero to Americans who wanted thoughtful and articulate leadership, even if that meant killing thousands of elderly nursing home residents at the behest of your largest donors. The network naturally rode to the defense of the Cuomo crime syndicate:
CNN spokesman Matt Dornic said Wednesday in response to the report: “We generally do not get involved in the medical decisions of our employees. However, it is not surprising that in the earliest days of a once-in-a-century global pandemic, when Chris was showing symptoms and was concerned about possible spread, he turned to anyone he could for advice and assistance, as any human being would.”
Left unanswered are some key questions:
(1) Was Fredo really someone who had exhibited symptoms of the virus and thus deserved testing? It seems that his bout with COVID-19 was pretty mild (despite his claims to the contrary), as evidenced by his willingness to break quarantine even as he pretended to be in a great deal of distress.
(2) What was the rationale for testing any of the Cuomo Family beyond the governor, assuming that none of them were experiencing symptoms? Was the Cuomo sister not tested until after her brother received his positive test, and if so, was that because she had been in recent contact with him? Same applies to the Cuomo matriarch and the other family members: with whom exactly had they been in contact in order to justify the test, and how many additional times were they tested after their initial negative result? (Naturally, medical privacy laws give them an excuse for keeping that information private.)
(3) Does CNN really think that it is hunky-dory for their employee and his family to receive (allegedly multiple) COVID-19 tests at a time when they were in short supply in New York State and people who were experiencing obvious symptoms of the virus were having trouble getting tested? This goes a long way of explaining why their network has become so unwatchable and their hosts so tiresome and stale.
As we have chronicled here recently, the sharks are swimming around Governor Andrew Cuomo, even if it remains to be seen if they will get up the nerve to take a bite. But I think it’s high time we are done with that awful family of creeps and thugs once and for all.
I’m still standing by my original prediction that Andrew Cuomo is not impeached and does not resign, but does announce that he is retiring at the end of this term.JVW (ee64e4) — 3/25/2021 @ 2:08 pm
the govna of massholeachusetts is worsemg (8cbc69) — 3/25/2021 @ 2:34 pm
I expect this crap happens everywhere. I know there are people who believe in the “good government” oxymoron, but RHIP. It just comes out with the Cuomos because they’re treading water in a shark-filled sea. It’s just like the way that the top, oh, 50,000 people in government got their Pfizer shots before anyone else did.
Someone ought to ask Newsom about it, too. Or your mayor.Kevin M (8d7f6b) — 3/25/2021 @ 5:19 pm
Allahpundit isn’t too happy with this scandal. He thinks Chris Cuomo will be gone from CNN before Andrew Cuomo is out of office.
https://hotair.com/archives/allahpundit/2021/03/25/report-cnn-hasnt-mentioned-cuomos-covid-testing-nepotism-scandal-day/Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1) — 3/25/2021 @ 5:31 pm
Leaders learn from other leaders. Kim Jong-un saw what happened to Gaddafi and decided there was no way in hell he would give up nukes (which is one of the reasons Trump’s meeting with him was so laughable). Cuomo learned from Northam to never resign.norcal (01e272) — 3/25/2021 @ 5:49 pm
Good post, JVW. Both Cuomos need to go. It was already bad enough when the younger would not question his brother about the COVID deaths/nursing home issue or the allegations against the governor, and now this. Enough already.Dana (fd537d) — 3/25/2021 @ 7:15 pm
The thing about this is that, theoretically, yes, anyone possibly exposed to the coronavirus was supposed to be tested. But they couldn’t actually come remotely close to doing that. Also many people here maybe had no reason to get tested.
There is no comparison to New Rochelle. That was a hotspot and the people being tested were few enough so they could contact trace thoroughly. At that time they thought they could stop the virus cold. And they did, six times. The initial cases in New York came from a lineage that came to the U.S.A. directly from China. But later it came via Italy. There were direct flights from Wuhan to Milan/ which I understand continued (for a while at least) during the lockdown of Wuhan (needs verification)
Milan was the center of the wedding dress industry with many workers from China who stayed a year in Italy. Not to mention business owners.Sammy Finkelman (6975b4) — 3/25/2021 @ 7:16 pm
It just keeps getting worse for the Cuomos and CNN.
https://greenwald.substack.com/p/cnns-defense-of-chris-cuomos-specialGawain's Ghost (b25cd1) — 3/25/2021 @ 8:56 pm
Correct. The media will not hold Democrats accountable, either. Even if a right-leaning media member tries to hold them accountable, the Democrats will blather about how they said he should be investigated. But not really do anything.Hoi Polloi (2f1acd) — 3/26/2021 @ 6:19 am
I don’t think what Cuomo did was illegal It is more than Trump did, who started – somewhat later – testing people who might come into contact with him. Trump offered the tests to Congress but Nancy Pelosi then didn’t want to do it. And got Mitch McConnell to play along. I think Cuomo maybe wanted to be able to say in contact with his family. It was that he controlled who got the testsSammy Finkelman (6975b4) — 3/26/2021 @ 7:48 am
Off-topic: CA Supreme Court ends cash bail system for the indigent. Did cash bail just become a wealth tax on those accused of crimes? If two embezzlers are arrested, their bail now becomes a function of their wealth. Before, one went free, and one paid a large bond. Now both will go free, but only one will pay a large bond.Kevin M (ab1c11) — 3/26/2021 @ 9:19 am
Correct. The media will not hold Democrats accountable, either.
Governor Cuomo could assault a woman on 5th Avenue and his supporters would not blink.Kevin M (ab1c11) — 3/26/2021 @ 9:21 am
What do you want them to do? I assume NY has rules about impeachment. But other then that all Biden, Schumer et. al. can do is say that he should step down. which they’ve done, and the media has covered those statements widely. What additional actions are you looking for?Time123 (653992) — 3/26/2021 @ 9:29 am
when did ‘not blink’ mean ‘call for his investigation and removal?’Time123 (80b471) — 3/26/2021 @ 9:30 am
Great post, this needs to be added to the list of reasons Cuomo should retire at the end of his term.
His sexual harassments is why he should resign before then (standard disclaimer about his right to an investigation applies, but I don’t think that investigation will be refute these claims)Time123 (653992) — 3/26/2021 @ 9:32 am
It’s against the Code of Omerta to confess.nk (1d9030) — 3/26/2021 @ 9:35 am
@16. Omerta?!? A truck full of Oscar Mayer; Daddy thought other’wise– guys’:
‘Mario Cuomo, the three-term governor of New York from 1983 to 1994, was a Mafia denier, and his administration did little to target the crime families. Indeed, he once infamously said that the Mafia’s existence is “a lot of baloney” and it’s just “a word invented by people.” When Gambino boss Paul Castellano was whacked in 1985 in front of Sparks Steak House in Manhattan the governor even ” urged reporters to refrain from invoking the word Mafia in reference to the hit.”‘ – source, baddabingreddit.comDCSCA (f4c5e5) — 3/26/2021 @ 9:45 am
The president of Regeneron – s company that both Mario and Andrew Cuomo helped financially – also got special access to coronavirus testing last March, when a member of his family became infected. It was a legitimate request. He was even considered an essential worker who met with people working on cures. On April 1 last year Governor Cuomo Regeneron said it would create 500.000 kits for testing and donate them free to New York, and apparently some people are trying to see if they can say that was a corrupt exchange. The company says its president had nothing to do with that decision.
(from the New York Times)
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/25/nyregion/governor-cuomo-coronavirus-testing.htmlSammy Finkelman (6975b4) — 3/26/2021 @ 9:52 am