Refusal To Investigate COVID Deaths In Nursing Homes Fuels Public Outrage

Republicans on the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis have been demanding the Justice Department investigate COVID deaths and the associated state policies in New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey since last June.

After repeated follow-ups on the Congressional requests, the response finally came on July 23. The DOJ said an ongoing investigation in New Jersey, but there would be no investigation in the other states. That includes New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo has come under intense scrutiny for alleged cover-ups of official policy and COVID death numbers.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), the ranking member of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, stated the DOJ’s refusal to investigate. Scalice wrote:

“It is outrageous that the Department of Justice refuses to investigate the deadly ‘must admit’ orders issued by governors in New York, Pennsylvania, and Michigan that resulted in the deaths of thousands of senior citizens. Where is the justice for nursing home victims and their grieving families? These deadly orders contradicted the CDC’s guidance and needlessly endangered the most vulnerable among us to the deadly COVID-19 virus. Even worse, Governor Cuomo in New York intentionally tried to cover up the true death toll resulting from his mandate. Grieving families deserve answers and accountability. It’s unconscionable that Biden’s Department of Justice refuses to investigate the deadly actions that went against CDC’s medical guidance taken in these states.”

Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean has been active in calling for accountability from Gov. Cuomo ever since her father-in-law and mother-in-law died from Covid-19 in a New York nursing home in March and April 2020. She wrote on Twitter, “There will be no justice for our loved ones, and it feels like we’ve lost them all over again.”

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) issued a statement, writing: “The Department of Justice has now chosen to willfully participate in the effort to deny the public answers and accountability. Adding this to the book deal and Emmy Award, the DOJ’s decision is yet another gift to a corrupt governor, turning a blind eye to the facts, the victims, and the public interest.”

The decision made by the DOJ on the Congressional committee’s request for an investigation does not prohibit an independent investigation into the Cuomo administration by the U.S. Attorney for New York. Unless criminal prosecution of any kind is commenced, no public information about any such analysis is likely to be made available.