The revelation came after the Albany-based Times Union newspaper reported late Wednesday that “high-level members” of New York’s Department of Health were directed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker to “conduct prioritized coronavirus testing on the governor’s relatives as well as influential people with ties to the administration.”
“Members of Cuomo’s family including his brother, his mother and at least one of his sisters were also tested by top health department officials — some several times, the sources said,” according to the Times Union.
The New York State Assembly began moving toward impeachment on March 11, when news of six allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced.
New York law currently bans state officials from using or attempting “to use his or her official position to secure unwarranted privileges or exemptions for himself or herself or others.”
“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 tested — 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,” Cuomo senior adviser Rich Azzopardi said in response to the Times Union story. “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.”
New York Assembly’s Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles D. Lavine told The New York Times on Thursday that the focus of the investigation remained on nursing homes and allegations of sexual harassment.
The recent scandal has intensified scrutiny of CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, who was diagnosed with the coronavirus on March 31. As the Times-Union noted, the diagnosis came “at a time when many members of the public struggled to obtain coronavirus tests.”
A CNN spokesman downplayed the news in a statement.
“We generally do not get involved in the medical decisions of our employees,” said spokesman Matt Dornic. “However, it is not surprising 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.”
Fox News’ Joseph Wulfsohn contributed to this report.