Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday suggested that scandal-scarred Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration may be skewing New York City’s COVID-19 data for political reasons.
“The state of New York has their own methodology [in calculating coronavirus statistics], and we don’t always agree that it’s the most rigorous methodology,” de Blasio said during a City Hall press briefing.
“Sometimes I am concerned that it might be a more subjective methodology, or there might be political considerations in the data,” said the mayor, adding, “We want the data to tell us the whole truth. We want to be led by the data and science.”
The Big Apple’s coronavirus positivity rate on a seven-day rolling average has consistently differed between city versus state data.
City data shows that New York City’s COVID-19 positivity rate has remained above 6 percent for weeks, but recent state data says that it’s been hovering at around 4 percent.
Hizzoner claimed that the city’s Department of Health, which tracks Big Apple COVID-19 data, “is the most accurate read of what’s happening in New York City.”
“We’re going to stick by it, because if we have the facts, we can protect our people, but we’re not going to depend on anyone else to understand the facts of New York City. We’ll do that for ourselves,” de Blasio said.
When directly asked by a reporter whether he believes Cuomo or the state Health Department is “cooking the numbers,” de Blasio replied: “I would say I believe our numbers are more accurate and more consistent, and I know our numbers are based on objective science and I can’t say that about the state.”
Dr. Dave Chokshi, the city health commissioner, however said that though some city and state COVID-19 data differ, the trends remain similar.
“When we look at the trends, you know, with respect to cases, percent positivity, hospitalizations, those are the things that are most important to follow. And you know, despite some of the nuances and the differences between the data, those trends often tell a very similar story,” Chokshi said.
De Blasio’s dig at his longtime foe comes as Cuomo faces dueling scandals over sexual harassment allegations and questions over his administration’s handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes.
During the briefing, de Blasio again called for Cuomo to step down over the allegations.
“I think he should resign so we can move forward in this state, but I’m not expecting him to do that today. So, the next thing he should do is resume normal democracy, restore democracy in the state of New York, restore local control so we can move forward,” de Blasio said.
De Blasio continued, “I am concerned that some of the decisions he’s made lately, I think, are more and more about politics than about the health of our people.”
“Well, the way to resolve that is to restore local control,” he said.