If Hochul really wants transparency, Zucker needs the old heave-ho


Beginning to make good on her vow that “transparency will be the hallmark of my administration,” Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday acknowledged another 12,000 COVID-19 deaths in New York that her predecessor, the disgraced Andrew Cuomo, deliberately had not.

The total’s now near 55,000 — which means the state has seen the highest per-capita COVID toll in the nation, which is what Cuomo didn’t want to admit.

“The public deserves a clear, honest picture of what’s happening,” Hochul said. “And that’s how we restore confidence.” So she made official the data that state authorities had been sending to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all along.

It’s a good start, but just a start.

Most conspicuously, Health Commissioner Howard Zucker still has his job, though he was Cuomo’s wingman in the coverup — including the related coverup of the true toll in state care homes. Yet he’s implicitly pleading I was just following orders.

As the state Department of Health planning council moved to emergency regulations requiring all health-care workers get jabbed, Zucker said he’s “thrilled” Hochul “has taken the helm in the state” and praised her leadership and her “refreshing” move of “allowing me and all of DOH to get the data out.”

This is the guy who issued the infamous March 25, 2020, order forcing nursing homes to take in COVID-contagious patients. The one who said that “to the best of the [Health] Department’s ability,” he had provided “the numbers of deaths by facility, by location of death, by whether confirmed or presumed.”

Dozens of top career Health Department officials quit rather than play along. Zucker stayed.

And he’s still stonewalling the Empire Center, refusing to honor its many Freedom of Information Law requests for COVID data that it unquestionably has handy.

It’s no wonder that several Democratic lawmakers dubbed Zucker a “liar.”

As the chief executor of Cuomo’s coverups, Zucker plainly doesn’t care about the truth. For transparency to be her administration’s hallmark, Hochul needs give Zucker the old heave-ho.

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