New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker allegedly directed that members of the governor’s family and bigwigs with ties to his administration should get priority coronavirus testing last year, a report said Wednesday.
Relatives of Cuomo, including his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, one of their sisters and their mom, Matilda Cuomo, were tested several times during the early days of the pandemic, the Albany Times-Union reported.
The testing was done by high-level members of the state Health Department, often at private homes, the newspaper said, citing three sources with direct knowledge of the matter.
Others who were given priority testing included the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Rick Cotton, and his wife, as well as Pat Foye, the head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and his wife. Some state legislators and their staff were also tested, according to the report.
The Cuomo administration denied the allegations of preferential treatment to the newspaper.
Cuomo spokesman and adviser Rich Azzopardi called the accusations an “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,” he 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.”
The allegations come as the embattled governor faces several allegations of sexual harassment, including from two current staffers, and a scandal over his administration’s handling of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.