New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has maintained the same talking point on his disastrous policy that sent coronavirus patients to nursing homes: that there’s nothing to see here. Despite downplaying the policy, Cuomo did reverse and delete any mention of the infamous March 25th nursing home order from his website, and now hopes we’ll all forget about it. Cuomo has opposed an independent probe of his nursing home policy.
Soon we’ll know for sure if there is indeed “nothing to see here” because the Department of Justice launched a probe into the policy implemented by Cuomo and others, including the Governors of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
In response, Cuomo called the probe “partisan” because fourteen states implemented similar policies, but the probe was only of four Democrat run states. “Mr. Barr cannot spell the word ‘justice,’” Cuomo said. “He doesn’t even feign to be impartial.”Of course, the reason these particular four states were chosen is because their nursing homes were the deadliest (and besides, most of the fourteen states are run by Democrats). The fact that the DOJ is disproportionately investigating Democrats for a disastrous policy disproportionately implemented by Democrats isn’t partisan policy.
As ProPublica notes in their June 16th report excoriating Cuomo’s policy in particular: “In the weeks that followed the March 25 order, coronavirus tore through New York state’s nursing facilities, killing more than 6,000 people — about 6% of its more than 100,000 nursing home residents.” Meanwhile, the Republican County Executive of Rensselaer County rightly saw Cuomo’s advice as absurd and defied it. The only nursing home run by the county, Van Renssealaer, saw a total of zero coronavirus deaths.
There are now 6,600 recorded nursing home deaths, and as if that isn’t bad enough, the true number of deaths could be nearly twice as many according to an Associated Press report. “New York’s coronavirus death toll in nursing homes, already among the highest in the nation, could actually be a significant undercount. Unlike every other state with major outbreaks, New York only counts residents who died on nursing home property and not those who were transported to hospitals and died there,” their report reads.
Cuomo’s initial defense of his policy was that it was merely following guidance from the CDC. Two days before Cuomo’s nursing home order, the CDC cited two key factors to determine if a patient with coronavirus should be discharged to a nursing some. Those factors were if the patient is medically ready for the discharge, and if the nursing home can safely care for an infected patient by implementing all recommended protocols to stop spread of the virus. That wasn’t the only guidance issued either. The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Report was released a week earlier, and also stressed that “in the context of rapidly escalating coronavirus outbreaks in much of the United States, it is critical that long-term care facilities implement active measures to prevent introduction of coronavirus.”
Cuomo’s nursing home order says nothing about making sure nursing homes are capable of caring for a patient before making an admission, and as ProPublica notes in their analysis “New York was the only state in the nation that barred testing of those being placed or returning to nursing homes.”
If my policies defied common sense to that extent, I wouldn’t want the DOJ looking into them either.