CNN anchor Chris Cuomo got special priority COVID-19 tests at his home in the Hamptons at the height of the pandemic, report says
- Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave his family special access to COVID-19 tests, The Washington Post reported.
- Sources told The Post that CNN’s Chris Cuomo was one of the people who benefitted.
- The state-administered tests reportedly took place in spring of 2020, when testing was scarce.
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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave his family and other high-profile people special access to coronavirus tests in the early days of the pandemic when most New Yorkers did not have access to them, sources told The Washington Post.
The Times Union also reported Wednesday that sources said state health officials were explicitly directed by Cuomo and Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker to prioritize Cuomo’s relatives and other influential figures for testing.
One of the people who is said to have benefitted? CNN anchor and the governor’s younger brother Chris Cuomo, who had COVID-19 in March of 2020.
The governor’s mother and at least one of his sisters were also said to have received priority testing, some multiple times, according to the Times Union.
State health officials visited the people’s homes to administer the tests, which were immediately processed in a state lab to quickly deliver results, three people with direct knowledge of the situation told The Post. The outlet said the lab was only equipped to process several hundred tests per day at the time.
Under New York law, it is illegal for officials or state employees to use their position “to secure unwarranted privileges” for themselves or others.
In statements provided to Insider, officials said some testing was done at people’s homes but did not name anyone specific, citing health privacy laws and ethics.
“We should avoid 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,” Rich Azzopardi, a senior advisor to Cuomo, 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 statement continued.
Sources told The Post Chris Cuomo was one of the people who received a test, with a New York Department of Health Doctor visiting the CNN anchor’s home in the Hamptons.
Gary Holmes, a New York State Department of Health spokesperson, did not provide names of people who received the tests, saying: “You’re asking professionals who took an oath to protect a patient’s privacy to violate that oath and compromise their integrity. More than 43 million New Yorkers have been tested, and commenting on any of them would be a serious violation of medical ethics.”
Insider has reached out to Chris Cuomo and CNN for comment.
The accusations over priority testing are the latest in a string of scandals circling the third-term governor of New York in recent weeks. Cuomo has been accused of sexual misconduct and criticized for his handling of nursing homes in the pandemic. He has also been involved in bridge safety concerns.
Chris Cuomo has also received some criticisms for declining to cover his brother’s scandals, despite praising the governor and even interviewing him on his prime-time show last year over his handling of coronavirus.
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