U of M's Osterholm denies claim he was 'chief adviser' to NY Gov. Cuomo

Dr. Michael Osterholm says he's only had one five-minute conversation with the governor.
Publish date:

Dr. Michael Osterholm, a top epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota, has denied he was a chief adviser to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

This is the latest in the fallout over the governor's handling of nursing home data related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In May 2020, Cuomo said he brought in Osterholm, the Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, to provide "technical advice and analyze data/metrics throughout the state's reopening process and help track the state's progress." 

And earlier this month, the New York Times reported Cuomo's top aides told Democrats he speaks regularly with Osterholm and Dr. Anthony Fauci. 

But on Friday, Osterholm in an interview with PBS' Firing Line denied he was one of Cuomo's top health advisers.

"I have not had anything to do with his nursing home activity at all. I came on basically in early June only just to review data on a weekly basis – did it meet the standards that they had set? So I was almost more of a technician than any kind of technologist," Osterholt said. 

He added, "I've never met with their group. I've had one five-minute conversation my entire life with Gov. Cuomo, just a few weeks ago when he called me just to congratulate me on a TV program appearance."

When asked about his top aides calling Osterholm one of his top advisers, he said "that's absolutely not true. Never true. I've had one five-minute conversation, which is a surprise, and he had seen me on MSNBC and just wanted to call and say what a great job I did."

It does not appear that Cuomo has commented on Osterholm's claims, but Richard Azzopardi, a chief adviser to Cuomo, responded on Twitter: 

Cuomo has come under fire from both Republicans and Democrats after the Democratic governor admitted some responsibility in withholding data on COVD-related deaths in New York nursing homes. Meanwhile, federal officials have reportedly opened an investigation into his administration's handling of nursing home deaths. 

Want to know more? This BBC story explains all the details of the controversy. 

The latest forecast from Sven Sundgaard

Next Up

Mats Zuccarello

Wild dominate Coyotes with 3-goal first period

The Wild rebounded after getting swept in Vegas.

Guy Fieri

MN brewpub to make 2nd appearance on 'Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives'

In other words, Guy Fieri is returning to the Twin Cities.

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

St. Cloud teen charged with raping girl in high school bathroom

Police say it happened during a late 2019 basketball game.


Reports: 'Miracle on Ice' star Mark Pavelich found dead at treatment facility

The 63-year-old had been ordered to undergo psychiatric care.

hennepin county government center fencing minneapolis chauvin

Minneapolis, Hennepin County spending $1M on barricades, fencing for Chauvin trial

Minneapolis hopes to be reimbursed for fortification costs by the state if it passes the proposed SAFE Account.

police lights

Police: 3 Minnesotans made fake report to divert SD police away drug investigation

Three people from Detroit Lakes are facing charges, with two of the men involved accused of making a false report of gunmen entering a local business.

Drive-up vaccine

HealthPartners opens drive-up COVID vaccine site

The healthcare provider says it's the first drive-up vaccination site in the state.

derek chauvin

Appeals court: Judge must reconsider third-degree murder charge against Chauvin

The appeals court's recent decision on a different officer-involved shooting case is precedent, it said.

covid-19, vaccine

New data reveals Minnesotans getting COVID vaccines are disproportionately white

The Minnesota Department of Health revealed race and ethnicity vaccine data on Friday.



What Dr. Michael Osterholm says about new coronavirus strains

"What we're seeing right now in England I think is going to be a harbinger of things to come," said Osterholm.


Walz responds to Osterholm's prediction of a variant-driven spike

Osterholm remains confident that the B.1.1.7. variant will cause big problems within 14 weeks.


Osterholm recommends delaying 2nd doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Delaying the second dose would allow more people to get a first dose of the vaccine.

PPE, coronavirus, covid-19

U of M's Dr. Michael Osterholm discusses the future of the pandemic

Osterholm has been preaching what he calls "straight talk" about the pandemic.

obese, obesity

U of M's Osterholm: Obesity could be deadly factor in U.S. COVID-19 outbreak

Gov. Walz said on Monday that obesity is a factor the state will start looking at.

Governor Tim Walz

Gov. Walz offers pathway to 'wind-down' his emergency powers

"I recognize our shared interest in finding a pathway ... to ensure an orderly end of the peacetime emergency when it is no longer needed," Walz writes.

coronavirus, pandemic, masks

Coronavirus: Pandemic perspectives from U of M expert, Mayo doctor

A Mayo doctor says 80% of people who get the virus won't even know they have it.


Osterholm: B117 COVID strain could become major issue in 6-8 weeks

The B117 variant is believed to be more easily transmitted.