Psaki wouldn't stand by Biden's description from last spring of Cuomo as the “gold standard" of gubernatorial leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, stressing that the president was focused on working with all governors across the country as part of his national strategy to deal with the virus.
“I’m not here to give new labels or names,” she told ABC on Sunday, leaving the investigations into Cuomo's response to the "appropriate" authorities.
Cuomo has been widely criticized for directing New York nursing homes on March 25 to admit COVID-19-positive patients, a decision directly linked to above 1,000 additional deaths.
according to a report by the Empire Center for Public Policy, a government watchdog group, “Statewide, the findings imply that COVID-positive new admissions between late March and early May, which numbered 6,327, were associated with several hundred and possibly more than 1,000 additional resident deaths.”
Cuomo's administration is also accused of withholding and manipulating data by excluding the number of nursing home residents who died in the hospital. Last month, New York Attorney General Letitia James released a report proving that the true nursing home resident death count may be 50% higher than what Cuomo’s administration claimed. James's findings led Cuomo's top staffer, Melissa DeRosa, to admit they doctored the death toll numbers after scrutiny from former President Donald Trump.
The effect of the Cuomo administration guidance was felt most acutely in upstate New York, the report said. The disproportionate effect on that region’s long-term care facilities could be due to the relatively low rate of new cases there at the time, “so that even a single exposure would have had a larger impact on the level of risk.”
During Sunday's interview, Psaki revealed Biden would travel to Texas "as soon as this week" to account firsthand the dire damage caused by this month's brutal winter storm. At least 26 people have died in Texas since Feb. 11, following severe weather which crippled the state's power grid and cut water supplies.
Biden was "eager" to make the trip in coordination with Texas officials but was waiting until his presence wouldn't "take away resources or attention" from the state, according to Psaki. Biden previewed his travel plans last week.
The weather event delayed the shipment of roughly 6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to communities and vaccination sites, but Psaki said the administration has collaborated with the U.S. Postal Service and FedEx, among others, to deliver 2 million of the 6 million shots.
"We expect to rapidly catch up this week, fill that backlog," she announced.