New York AG Letitia James slams Gov. Kathy Hochul for failing to stem rising COVID cases


New York Attorney General Letitia James has slammed Governor Kathy Hochul over her alleged failure to address the rising COVID-19 rates in the state.

James, who announced her bid for governor just three weeks ago, argues that with rising cases rates in upstate New York, state leadership needs to ‘take immediate action to bring the infection rates under control and help stop future surges before they happen’.

‘State government is failing to act to address the COVID crisis in some of the most vulnerable communities in New York state – this past week, the 7-day average percentage of positive test results increased from 8.87 percent to 9.48 percent in Western NY. Rates are also above 8 percent in the Finger Lakes,’ she said.

The attorney general said it was ‘troubling’ that despite vaccine accessibility, some regions in New York are currently reporting hospitalization rates that exceed numbers from last year. 

James said the government needs to take action: ‘It is time to act now to save lives. Anything short of bold action is unacceptable.’

New York Attorney General Letitia James (pictured) has slammed Governor Kathy Hochul over her alleged failure to address the COVID-19 crisis in the state

New York Attorney General Letitia James (pictured) has slammed Governor Kathy Hochul over her alleged failure to address the COVID-19 crisis in the state

James announced on October 29 that she would challenge fellow Democrat Kathy Hochul (pictured) in the state's 2022 gubernatorial race

James announced on October 29 that she would challenge fellow Democrat Kathy Hochul (pictured) in the state’s 2022 gubernatorial race

State data released Sunday revealed a seven-day positivity average of 6,177 cases or 9.48 percent, with a peak of 7,971 positive cases reported on Wednesday.

In the last two weeks, the positivity rate has increased by 52 percent. There was also an 11 percent in hospitalizations across the state.

Over the same time period, reported COVID deaths declined by 11 percent. 

In wake of the current trends, James posed several potential solutions to prevent another surge throughout the state.

She argued that New York utilize trusted community partners to educate citizens living in vaccine-hesitant areas, create census-style outreach outside of major cities and expand pop-up and mobile vaccination sites.

The attorney general also encouraged the government to use state funds to secure millions of at-home COVID tests and offer financial incentives to get the jab.

State data released Sunday revealed a seven-day positivity average of 6,177 cases or 9.48 percent, with a peak of 7,971 positive cases reported on Wednesday

State data released Sunday revealed a seven-day positivity average of 6,177 cases or 9.48 percent, with a peak of 7,971 positive cases reported on Wednesday

James argued as case rates rise upstate, New York leadership needs to 'take immediate action to bring the infection rates under control and help stop future surges before they happen'

James argued as case rates rise upstate, New York leadership needs to ‘take immediate action to bring the infection rates under control and help stop future surges before they happen’

Additionally, she criticized state leaders over low booster shot rates.

‘As of last week, New York had among the lowest rates of residents who had received booster shots in the country,’ James said. ‘This is unacceptable and New York must increase outreach to encourage boosters for New Yorkers.’

She continued: ‘The state should also begin offering daily booster reporting by county and region.’ 

Meanwhile, Hochul reported Sunday that 89.9 percent of adult New Yorkers have received at least one dose of the vaccine. 76.9 percent of all eligible residents have gotten at least one shot.  

96,564 vaccine doses were administered over the last 24 hours. It is unclear how many of those are first shots, second shots or boosters. 

In wake of the current trends, James posed several potential solutions to prevent another surge throughout the state

In wake of the current trends, James posed several potential solutions to prevent another surge throughout the state

James, 63, has been vocal about the state’s handling of the pandemic since former Governor Andrew Cuomo was in office. 

In January, her office released a 76-page report following a months-long investigation that alleged the New York Department of Health underreported COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50 percent.

The investigation, which put her at odds with the then-governor who often boasted about New York’s handling of the virus, also allegedly found that several nursing homes failed to comply with ‘critical infection control policies.’ 

‘As the pandemic and our investigations continue, it is imperative that we understand why the residents of nursing homes in New York unnecessarily suffered at such an alarming rate,’ James said in a statement at that time. 

‘While we cannot bring back the individuals we lost to this crisis, this report seeks to offer transparency that the public deserves and to spur increased action to protect our most vulnerable residents.’

The attorney general also announced on Oct. 29 that she would challenge fellow Democrat Hochul, the former lieutenant governor, who replaced Cuomo when he stepped down on Aug. 24. The gubernatorial election is to be held next November.

James also led a five-month reportedly independent investigation into sexual assault allegations made against the former governor.

The investigation concluded that Cuomo had engaged in conduct that violated multiple federal and state laws.

However, on Thursday, Rita Galvin, an attorney for Cuomo, called on James to recuse herself from any decisions regarding the sexual harassment case against the former governor, saying her gubernatorial campaign created a conflict of interest.

‘Her office must recuse as she is campaigning for governor,’ Galvin alleged. ‘Her judgment in those months was absolutely compromised by her political motivations.’

The lawyer also noted that James announced her campaign one day after the Albany County Sheriff’s Office charged Cuomo with a misdemeanor sex offense. 

In wake of her bid for governor, one of former governor Andrew Cuomo's (pictured) lawyers called on James to recuse herself from any decisions regarding the sexual harassment case against the former governor, saying her campaign created a conflict of interest

In wake of her bid for governor, one of former governor Andrew Cuomo’s (pictured) lawyers called on James to recuse herself from any decisions regarding the sexual harassment case against the former governor, saying her campaign created a conflict of interest

The attorney general’s report found Cuomo had sexually harassed 11 women.

The former governor has denied any wrongdoing and in August said he accepted ‘full responsibility’ for what he characterized as ill-conceived attempts to be affectionate or humorous. He also said he would resign for the good of the state.

James’ office says it is standing by the sexual misconduct report and the women who came forward with allegations against the former governor.

In a statement Thursday, her office characterized Cuomo’s tactics as ‘school yard bullying’ and a way for the former governor to keep his name in the spotlight.

‘Today’s embarrassing press conference was simply dramatics and faux outrage,’ the statement said. ‘If Andrew Cuomo didn’t want to be accused of sexual harassment, he shouldn’t have sexually harassed multiple women in the first place.’ 



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