The Governor of New York City is facing a fresh scandal after it was claimed he had used his position to have his mother and younger brother prioritised for state-administered coronavirus tests. It comes as Mr Cuomo is already facing calls to step down over accusations of sexual harassment. An NBC reporter said that the Governor had essentially allowed those close to him to “cut the line” for screening.
An NBC News reporter said: “Early on the pandemic tests were hard to come by now multiple outlets are reporting that Governor Cuomo made test available to his family and people close to him.
“Essentially allowing them to cut the line while others had to wait.”
She added: “The Times Union of Albany says according to three people with direct knowledge of the situation Cuomo directed top health officials to prioritise people with close ties to his administration and family members including his mother and his younger brother Chris Cuomo.
“The Washington Post citing two sources days employees at Wardsworth Center the state’s lab in Albany would work overtime to process the results of those close to the governor.”
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The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that a top state doctor made house calls to some of the governor’s family members or close associates, including his brother, to administer the tests.
CNN news anchor Chris Cuomo, the Governor’s brother, tested positive for COVID-19 early on in the pandemic.
The Priority screening was allegedly carried out at a time when ordinary New Yorkers were facing long delays in getting hold of Covid tests.
“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,” Mr Cuomo’s spokesman Richard Azzopardi told Reuters in response to the Post’s article.
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,” Azzopardi added.
“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.”
It comes as the 63-year-old Democrat politician faces calls to step down over accusations of sexual harassment or misconduct from at least eight women.
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Governor Cuomo has denied the allegations and repeatedly has said he would not resign from office
His eighth accuser to come forward, Alyssa McGrath she told The New York Times the governor directed sexually suggestive comments at her and her co-worker and quizzed about her not wearing a wedding ring.
This came after another female aide, who has remained anonymous, claimed Mr Cuomo groped her breasts at his mansion.
The governor has said he “never touched anyone inappropriately” and has vowed he will not stand down but had apologised for making anyone feel “uncomfortable.”