Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration organized particular entry to government-run coronavirus testing for members of his household and different influential individuals because the pandemic descended on New York final yr, in accordance with two individuals with direct information of the matter.
The transfer to make testing of individuals carefully tied to Mr. Cuomo a precedence was carried out by high-ranking state well being officers, one of many individuals stated. It got here because the seriousness of the virus was nonetheless changing into clear to the broader public and testing was not broadly out there to most individuals.
Amongst those that benefited from the particular therapy was the governor’s brother, the CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, and his household, who had been examined a number of instances within the pandemic’s early section, this particular person stated. The governor’s mom, Matilda Cuomo, and at the very least one in every of his sisters had been additionally in a position to make the most of the state-administered checks, the 2 individuals stated.
Chris Cuomo introduced on March 31 final yr that he had examined constructive for the virus. A CNN spokesman didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
That the governor’s administration successfully let well-connected individuals lower the road to find out whether or not they had been contaminated with a lethal virus that was ravaging the state was reported earlier by The Times Union of Albany, N.Y., and The Washington Post.
The revelation comes as Mr. Cuomo confronts essentially the most vital disaster of his political profession, with a lot of his fellow elected New York Democrats calling for him to resign within the face of a number of sexual harassment allegations and questions on his administration’s dealing with of the virus-related deaths of nursing house residents.
The State Meeting opened an impeachment investigation this week to look at each points, whereas the state legal professional basic has began a separate inquiry and federal brokers are investigating the nursing house matter.
Richard Azzopardi, a spokesman for Mr. Cuomo, didn’t explicitly deny that the administration had prolonged particular therapy to anybody whereas additionally looking for to dispute the notion.
“Within the early days of this pandemic, when there was a heavy emphasis on contact tracing, we had been completely going above and past to get individuals testing,” he stated, including that the hassle included “in some situations going to individuals’s properties — and door-to door-in locations like New Rochelle — to take samples from these believed to have been uncovered to Covid so as to determine instances” and to stop others from growing the illness.
He added: “Amongst these we assisted had been members of most of the people, together with legislators, reporters, state staff and their households who feared that they had contracted the virus and had the aptitude to additional unfold it.”
Early final yr, with the federal authorities scrambling to satisfy the demand for testing and New York changing into the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic, the state-run Wadsworth Heart in Albany was for a time the one laboratory within the state that was accepted to carry out virus checks.
Even then, the Wadsworth laboratory solely had the capability to course of a number of hundred samples. Lab capability within the state elevated rapidly final March however remained restricted by late within the month, when Chris Cuomo was examined, in accordance with one of many individuals with direct information of the matter.
A number of the preferential checks, together with these administered to Chris Cuomo and his household, had been carried out by Dr. Eleanor Adams, an epidemiologist and high aide to the state well being commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, the 2 individuals with direct information of the matter stated.
As soon as collected, the samples had been rushed to the Wadsworth lab with State Police escorts, the individuals stated.
Luis Ferré-Sadurní contributed reporting.