New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s aides arranged for special access to government-run coronavirus testing for the governor’s family and VIPs, The New York Times reports.
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, the governor’s brother, and his family received several tests early in the pandemic in March thanks to “special treatment” while supplies were scarce and not widely available. Chris Cuomo and his family tested positive for the virus in late March and early April.
The governor’s mother and at least one of his sisters were also given special access to tests.
The tests administered to Chris Cuomo and his family were conducted by the top aide to state health commissioner Howard Zucker and then rushed to a lab with state police escorts. Lab staff were instructed to stay late into the night to process the tests and quickly report the results.
State officials expressed concern at the time about the tests for Cuomo’s family but said the police escorts and expedited times were standard during that time.
Cuomo doesn’t deny:
“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,” Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi told the Times, adding that the effort included “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.”
“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,” he added.
A CNN spokesman told the Times that the company does not usually discuss medical information about its employees but defended the testing.
“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,” said CNN spokesman Matt Dornic.