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CNN Stands by Chris Cuomo Amid Family COVID Testing Allegations

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CNN has come out in support of host Chris Cuomo following reports that he received special access to COVID-19 testing because his brother, Andrew Cuomo, is governor of New York.

The governor is accused of arranging access to state-administered COVID tests for members of his family and “well-connected figures”, according to The Washington Post.

Chris Cuomo, who contracted the virus last spring, is one of the people who allegedly received priority testing organized by his brother. Cuomo’s wife also had COVID-19.

CNN spokesperson Matt Dornic issued a statement on Wednesday that appeared supportive of Chris Cuomo without defending the reported events.

“We generally do not get involved in the medical decisions of our employees,” Dornic said.

“However, it is not surprising that 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.”

Statement from @CNN spokesman Matt Dornic on reports that @ChrisCuomo got special coronavirus testing treatment from NYS officials. pic.twitter.com/4h7fe0Eb6m

— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) March 25, 2021

Three officials familiar with the priority testing operation told the Post that a top state doctor and health officials were sent to the homes of those being tested and a lab was set up to process the results quickly.

These events appear to have taken place at a time when ordinary residents of New York were struggling to get a COVID test. The accusations add to the already considerable pressure on Governor Cuomo, who has been facing calls to resign amid a scandal over nursing home deaths in the state and allegations of sexual harassment.

New York state law prohibits officials from using their position to grant privileges to themselves or other people. Cuomo’s administration has not made a statement on the priority tests, citing laws about health privacy.

The administration did note, however, that members of the public also received at-home 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—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 spokesperson Rich ­Azzopardi said in a statement.

CNN has faced criticism in the past for how it handles the relationship between Chris and Andrew Cuomo, particularly after the nursing home scandal hit the headlines.

Chris Cuomo, pictured on May 15, 2019, in New York City. CNN has issued a supportive statement about the host amid claims he received special access to COVID-19 testing.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for WarnerMedia

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