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NY considers commission to study COVID-19 response for future pandemics

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  • Staff Report 

In Albany, lawmakers are discussing a bill to establish a new state commission dedicated to analyzing New York’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, aiming to bolster readiness for future health crises. The proposal has garnered bipartisan support and comes as Governor Kathy Hochul’s administration has been delayed in presenting a separate, external review of the state’s pandemic response, which was anticipated last year and has a $4.3 million price tag.


The envisioned commission would scrutinize responses at all government levels, focusing on policies that led to lockdowns and remote schooling, as well as the impact on healthcare, education, and various facilities including nursing homes and jails. This comprehensive study seeks to draw lessons from the handling of COVID-19, which claimed nearly 84,000 lives in New York out of more than 1.1 million nationwide, according to federal data.

The proposed 16-member commission would include appointees from the governor, state Senate, Assembly, and minority leaders, equipped with the authority to access state records and issue subpoenas. This move aligns with efforts at both state and federal levels to thoroughly investigate the pandemic’s management, including the controversial handling of nursing home data, as New York updates its pandemic response strategies to better prepare for future health emergencies.