A New York congresswoman is calling on the state’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, to resign over his administration’s cover-up of reporting of thousands of COVID-19 deaths in the state’s nursing homes.

In an interview with The Daily Signal, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., said she called on the three-term governor to step down after Jill DesRosiers, his own chief of staff, revealed the cover-up. 

The cover-up “was purposely done because they were afraid of the [federal] Department of Justice getting this information,” Malliotakis said.

The congresswoman said that the nursing home deaths occurred because of Cuomo’s executive order of just over a year ago on March 25, 2020, which forced nursing homes to take in COVID-19-positive patients discharged from hospitals, exposing vulnerable elderly in the nursing homes to the coronavirus. 

In the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, many hospitals were overwhelmed and needed to find ways to make beds available. 

The executive order stated: “No resident shall be denied readmission or admission to the [nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. [Nursing homes] are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”

Cuomo is also facing calls to resign—including from fellow New York Democrats, among them the state’s two U.S. senators—over a series of sexual harassment allegations. Malliotakis said that while those allegations should be taken seriously, she’s shocked that “state legislators are focused more on the sexual harassment and not the 15,000 deaths.”

“The stuff with the sexual harassment that has come subsequent to that, I believe, is completely troublesome,” the New York congresswoman said, but later added: “I’m actually quite shocked that state legislators are focused more on the sexual harassment and not the 15,000 deaths, because that was an admitted cover-up, where the other stuff is allegations at this point.” 

On Jan. 28, New York state Attorney General Letitia James published a report finding that there were a large number of nursing home residents who died from COVID-19 and that they may have been undercounted by 50%. 

“The number of individuals that were [COVID-19] positive that were placed in those nursing homes, he underreported that by 40% as well,” Malliotakis said.

“The governor needs to go, and he will go,” Malliotakis said. But Cuomo has repeatedly refused calls to step down.

A Data for Progress poll released March 19 found that 49% of all respondents said the Democratic governor should resign immediately, while 42% said he should not. Among registered Democrats polled, just 29% said Cuomo should go, while 61% said he should remain in office.

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