Press Release
Senator Joe Pennacchio Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26)
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Contact: Robbie Kenney / (609) 847-3600
February 12, 2021
Pennacchio Says NJ’s Follow-the-Leader Approach to Pandemic Screams for Investigation Following NY Revelations

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A published report exposing the shocking admission by a high-ranking aid to Governor Cuomo that New York intentionally withheld “the state’s nursing home death toll from COVID-19” may raise serious questions about the reliability of New Jersey’s data, Senator Joe Pennacchio said.

Almost identical letters sent by the New York and New Jersey health departments to hospitals and nursing homes less than a week apart indicate New Jersey was indeed following New York’s lead. Click to enlarge. (

“We now know New York was playing games with the numbers to prevent the loss of life from becoming a political issue,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “In light of the New Jersey parroting New York’s policies, there has to be concern that the true extent of the crisis in our veterans’ homes and nursing homes could have also been downplayed to protect the Governor.

“The Administration has repeatedly resisted calls for transparency, and refused to share ‘the science’ behind their virus policies,” Pennacchio noted. “The public deserves some clarity, and the families of almost 8,000 seniors and healthcare workers who died from COVID exposure in long-term care facilities want answers.”

According to the New York Post, “the stunning admission of a coverup was made by secretary to the governor Melissa DeRosa during a video conference call with state Democratic leaders.”

“New York’s admission of obstruction screams for an investigation of New Jersey,” Pennacchio said. “All along, New Jersey’s nursing home policies have been ‘follow the leader,’ following in the footsteps of New York.

“Murphy’s health department issued directives to long-term care facilities that were verbatim to orders Cuomo sent to home there just days before. It’s not a stretch to think New York’s malfeasance may have been duplicated in Trenton,” the Senator said.

In May, Pennacchio obtained a copy of a letter sent out by New Jersey’s health department dated six days after New York sent a similar letter. Follow the leader.

Both letters directed the discharge and acceptance policies of hospitals and nursing homes for vulnerable elderly patients, and both ordered the facilities to take in infected COVID-19 patients.

“This administration continues to hide the truth, refusing to respond to OPRA requests for information and hiding behind the public health emergency for cover,” said Pennacchio. “Any federal investigation into New York should also be looking at what happened in New Jersey. We need to understand whether anybody in Cuomo’s administration counseled New Jersey to do the same thing and obscure the real numbers.”

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