Judge Rules Gov. Cuomo’s Health Department Illegally Withheld Nursing Home Death Toll
In a twist that few could’ve possibly seen coming, a Democrat is actually being held accountable for their actions, at least to some extent.
While we’ve known about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s nursing home scandal and that deaths were undercounted in those nursing homes for months, a report from New York’s Attorney General exposing the undercounting finally has people paying attention.
According to the New York Post:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Health Department broke the law by refusing to provide a government watchdog group with the total nursing home death toll from COVID-19, a judge ruled.
The legal smackdown came just days after an attorney general’s report revealed that the Cuomo administration misled the public about the total number of nursing home residents killed by the coronavirus by only releasing the numbers of those who died in nursing homes, not those who later died in hospitals.
In a 16-page decision, acting Albany Supreme Court Justice Kimberly O’Connor blasted the DOH for repeatedly telling the Empire Center for Public Policy “that it was unable to respond to the [Freedom of Information Law] request” since it was filed six months ago.
“DOH does not, in the Court’s opinion, offer an adequate explanation as to why it has not responded to that request within its estimated time period or to date,” O’Connor wrote.
“Its continued failure to provide petitioner a response, given the straightforward nature of the request … goes against FOIL’s broad standard of open and transparent government and is a violation of that statute.”
O’Connor ordered the DOH to turn over records within five business days.
While there were roughly 8,711 deaths recorded in New York’s nursing homes the day before the AG’s report, those stats didn’t provide an complete picture. If a nursing home resident caught coronavirus in the home and then was transported to a hospital where they later died, that wasn’t counted as a nursing home death. When counting deaths accurately, the AG report found that there an estimated 12,743 nursing home deaths.
Cuomo has tried a number of strategies to cover up his nursing home scandal. He had his own DOH commission a study to try to exonerate themselves. He’s blamed Trump for the disastrous policy, falsely claiming he was simply following CDC guidance – and he’s even gone as far as to deny that it never existed at all, claiming that nursing homes “never needed” to accept coronavirus-positive patients. So ridiculous was that lie that even CNN fact checked it.
His most recent claim has been to play off Hillary Clinton’s “What difference does it make,” and argue that it’s tragic wherever someone dies of coronavirus, whether it be inside a nursing home or outside one. “Who cares?” he said.
The families of at least 12,743 people care, actually.