The Real Numbers From New York

The New York Post posted an article today about the actual number of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes in the state.

The article reports:

The state Department of Health quietly updated its chart of nursing-home deaths to include those who died at hospitals as well as in the facilities. The update added more than 4,000 deaths to the state tally as of Thursday.

The Upper East Side Rehabilitation and Nursing Center had 29 deaths at the home, and another 51 in a hospital.

Information for the Bronxcare Special Care Center had previously showed only eight COVID-19 deaths. But there were 20 additional deaths in the hospital, according to the new data.

At the Boropark Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare, an additional 41 people died in the hospital on top of 32 at the home.

The article notes:

The state Department of Health had refused for months to provide the information until it was forced to by a judge Thursday.

Acting Albany Supreme Court Justice Kimberly O’Connor blasted the DOH for claiming it could not produce the data, and ordered the stats released within five days. The Empire Center for Public Policy had sought the information under a Freedom of Information Law request.

State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker finally released the total number of nursing home deaths on Jan. 28, putting the figure at 12,743 with the hospital fatalities, instead of 8,740. The disclosure came after Attorney General Letitia James produced a damning report saying the number of deaths could be as much as 50 percent higher than officials claimed.

The state has been criticized for early directives that mandated ill-equipped and understaffed nursing homes accept COVID-19 patients, knowing the elderly population was most at risk for the virus.

It is obscene that the courts had to be called into action to get this data. The number of nursing home deaths in New York was covered up to protect the reputation of Governor Cuomo. Now the facts are out, and it is up to the residents of the state to decide in the next election whether he will remain Governor. It is criminal that with a hospital ship, a hospital set up in Central Park, and the Javits Center equipped to handle coronavirus patients, patients were sent into nursing homes where the most vulnerable lived.

This Is Not The America I Know

Yesterday The Blaze reported that Governor Cuomo in New York has limited indoor Thanksgiving gatherings to 10 people. When did any state government acquire the right to tell you how many people you can invite for Thanksgiving in your own house? People are very capable of evaluating the risk and making their own decisions. Remember, this is the same man who sent coronavirus patients into nursing homes. I don’t understand why he has any credibility on any policy dealing with the virus.

The article reports:

Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday, the governor announced Wednesday that all indoor gatherings would be limited to 10 people.

These are not just indoor gatherings at facilities open to the public.

According to Gov. Cuomo’s tweeted announcement, the state is focused on limiting indoor gatherings at private homes to 10 people, a significant drop from the 50-person limit that has been in place, the Ithaca Voice reported.

The article concludes:

“These measures are appropriate at this point in time in anticipation of what we see as potential spread,” Cuomo told reporters, WCBS-AM said. “If these measures are not sufficient to slow the spread, we will … turn the valve more, and part of that would be reducing the number of people in indoor dining.”

“It’s tough on bars and restaurants, it’s tough on gyms, it’s tough on everyone. I would say we are within sight of the finish line, the vaccine has been discovered, it has to be perfected, it has to be operationalized, but we see the finish line,” Cuomo added, according to WCBS.

The New York Post said the governor did not indicate how the new order would be enforced, but he did say it would be up to local governments.

“You can make rules, rules are only as good as enforcement, period,” Cuomo said. “I need the local governments to enforce.”

Aren’t laws supposed to have some constitutional basis?

Rewriting Recent History

Yesterday The Washington Free Beacon posted an article about how Governor Cuomo handled the coronavirus in New York State.

The article reports:

New York governor Andrew Cuomo (D.) said Wednesday that the widely reported readmission of coronavirus patients to nursing homes at the height of the pandemic in the state “never happened.”

Cuomo said that despite a March 25 advisory issued by his administration barring nursing homes from denying admission to patients “solely based on a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19,” readmissions never took place. He claimed that, because the state “never needed” those nursing home beds, readmitting COVID-positive patients “just never happened.”

Cuomo admitted his administration implemented the policy but said it was only an “anticipatory rule,” in case hospitals became overwhelmed with patients.

As a result of the rule, however, nursing homes readmitted over 6,000 patients who tested positive for coronavirus between late March and early May. 

I wonder if the mainstream media will actually confront him about this lie.

The article further reports:

Nearly 6,500 New York nursing home patients have died of COVID-19 as of Sept. 28, accounting for about 20 percent of the state’s total coronavirus deaths (32,768). Some experts say that number could be higher, as the state health department does not count those who contracted the virus in a nursing home. 

In the same call, Cuomo said his policies “saved lives.” 

Governor Cuomo has taken some very interesting positions as New York has fought the coronavirus.

On April 13, 2020, NBC New York reported:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is never shy to point out that President Donald Trump attacks him more than any other governor in America.

But on Monday, Cuomo took to an unlikely venue — The Howard Stern Show — to offer genuine praise for the president’s response to the coronavirus in his home state.

“He has delivered for New York. He has,” Cuomo said of Trump, in response to a question from Stern about whether the president has really done anything of consequence to help.

“By and large it has worked,” Cuomo said of the relationship.

He cited, as he has before, the sending of the Navy ship USNS Comfort and the construction of a military field hospital at the Javits Center as examples of the president responding quickly to the state’s needs.

That’s very nice. However, on September 24, 2020, U.S. News reported:

Cuomo and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer are calling for congressional investigations into the Trump administration’s “politicization of [the] pandemic response.”

The Democratic governors singled out President Donald Trump, saying in a joint statement on Thursday that the “unprecedented and unacceptable scale of this tragedy is the direct result of President Trump and the federal government’s deceit, political self-dealing and incompetence.”

Note that September is part of the run-up to the Presidential election. Also note that calling for a congressional investigation into someone after saying that your relationship with them works seems a little odd. I don’t think the President is the one who politicized the coronavirus.

Rules For The Little People

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit reported the following:

Hollywood Stars Attending Video Music Awards From Out of State will Not be Subject to New York’s 14-Day Quarantine Mandate

This infuriates me. I live in North Carolina and can’t visit my grandchildren without a two-week quarantine, but Hollywood stars are not subject to quarantine. So the coronavirus only attacks people that don’t have a lot of influence?

The article notes:

Hollywood stars traveling to New York City from out of state for the MTV Video Music Awards will have the special privilege of skipping the state’s 14-day quarantine mandate.

Under Governor Andrew Cuomo’s mandate, anyone who travels to New York from any of the 34 ‘high risk’ states must quarantine for 14 days. Violators may be fined up to $10,000 or jailed for 15 days.

The article quotes The New York Post:

But unlike other travelers, the VMA musicians, singers and dancers won’t have to follow a state rule to quarantine for 14 days if they come to New York from any of 34 states, including California and Florida, with average COVID infection rates exceeding 10 percent.

Under an executive order by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, anyone who violates the quarantine order is subject to a fine up to $10,000 or up to 15 days in jail.

But the state Department of Health has granted the VMAs a semi-exemption to the quarantine rule.

To receive the exemption, the VMAs agreed to police itself with “rigorous safety protocols including testing and screening and compliance checks by a special compliance officer.”

The article also reminds us of another recent privileged class that was except from coronavirus rules:

Democrat Mayor of DC Muriel Bowser exempted Democrat lawmakers returning from Rep. John Lewis’s funeral from the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

I live in a section of North Carolina that has a low rate of the virus. Why am I not allowed to visit my grandchildren?

That Was Then, This Is Now

On April 19th Townhall reported the following:

New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo was asked on Sunday whether or not he has faith in President Trump when it comes to handling the Wuhan coronavirus. Gov. Cuomo made it clear that he not only trusts the president but that what Trump and his administration have done was nothing short of a “phenomenal accomplishment.”

“What the federal government did working with states was a phenomenal accomplishment,” the governor marveled. “We bent the curve. We flattened the curve. Government did it. People did it, but government facilitates people’s actions, right?”

Gov. Cuomo has consistently praised the president for helping New Yorkers while the state quickly emerged as an international hotspot of the Wuhan coronavirus. Only on the issue of ventilators, when Gov. Cuomo anticipated New York would need some 40,000 ventilators, were the president and the governor at odds. Trump expected the actual number of ventilators New York needed to be much lower, and Trump was right. Instead of 40,000 ventilators, New York needed about 5,000. The state now has so many ventilators they have begun sending them to other states.

“We had to double the hospital capacity in New York State,” Gov. Cumo recalled on Sunday. “That’s what all the experts said. The president brought in the Army Corps of Engineers. They built 2,500 at Javits … It was a phenomenal accomplishment. Close to a thousand people have gone through Javits. Luckily, we didn’t need the 2,500 beds. But all the projections said we did need it and more … so these were just extraordinary efforts and acts of mobilization, and the federal government stepped up and was a great partner, and I’m the first one to say it. We needed help and they were there.” 

That was then.

This is now.

Yesterday The Washington Free Beacon reported:

In his remarks, Cuomo blamed the Trump administration for its failure to anticipate the pandemic’s magnitude. But like the Trump administration, the governor himself downplayed the threat of the virus as it was beginning to spread across the United States, telling New Yorkers in early March that it was “a manageable situation” and didn’t “merit the hysteria.” Weeks later, his state became the center of the U.S. outbreak.

For Governor Cuomo it’s not about doing the right thing–it’s about politics. The Democrats have chosen to ignore the fact that the Governor sent coronavirus patients into nursing homes after other facilities were made available. For those who lost loved ones because of that decision, this is not a small matter. His speech last night at the Democrat convention was a disgrace.

A Very Costly Decision

The decision to send coronavirus patients into nursing homes was a very expensive decision. In early June The New York Post reported that nearly one fourth of the deaths from the coronavirus occurred in nursing homes. More recent statistics show a higher percentage. A number of states required nursing homes to accept patients with the disease after they were discharged from the hospital. In New York, this is particularly aggravating because beds were available at the Javits Center and the hospital ship that was docked in the harbor. Both had been refitted to allow them to take patients with the virus. There was also the hospital set up by Samaritan’s Purse in Central Park. There were other options than nursing homes. The decision to send the coronavirus patients back to nursing homes in New York was made by Governor Cuomo.

Yesterday The New York Post posted an article about Governor Cuomo’s decision.

The article reports on Governor Cuomo’s latest efforts to avoid responsibility for that decision:

His latest bid is simply scandalous. Cuomo has the nerve to blame grieving family members and heroic nursing-home staffers, charging they were the ones who infected and killed as many 12,000 elderly and helpless residents.

Desperation is no excuse. This is shamelessness on stilts. And it is heartlessly cruel to blame the victims.

The outrageous claims came in a report released by state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, along with hospital administrators. Conveniently, the report they prepared absolves all of them of any responsibility. What a coincidence!

Coverups don’t get any more brazen. Or less credible.

The fact remains that Zucker wrote, with obvious hospital ­input, the March 25 order forcing all nursing homes to take people infected with the coronavirus. It ultimately resulted in 6,326 sick patients being transferred from hospitals to nursing homes between March 25 and May 8.

The homes and other long-term-care facilities were given no warning, advice or help in preparing to receive those patients. There were no inspections to learn whether the facilities had space and staff to segregate COVID patients from the long-term residents, most of whom were especially vulnerable to the virus.

The order was so flawed that it even blocked the facilities from asking if those being transferred had tested positive for the virus. All those demands run counter to federal recommendations and requirements.

The article continues:

While there may have been isolated cases of infected, asymptomatic visitors, the fact remains that the nearly 600 facilities involved did not have significant numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths until the days and weeks following the March 25 order. Some had zero cases until then.

The insistence that the order played no role won’t wash. For one thing, Cuomo’s office claims the Zucker report was “peer reviewed,” but only by organizations that have a stake in its conclusions.

For another, in addition to The Post, which first recognized the lethality of the order, numerous other media outlets have independently confirmed the consequences. In this case, that’s peer review worth the name.

Indeed, it became so obvious that the March 25 order was a fatal blunder that Cuomo effectively rescinded it on May 10. Then, with a quick pivot and a grinding of gears, he shifted into an ­unconscionable hunt for scapegoats.

And hasn’t stopped. Some days, there is more than one. Trump is a frequent target, with Cuomo saying recently that the president “makes up facts, he makes up science.”

He also accused the president of being in “denial of the problem” and added, “He is facilitating the virus, he is enabling the virus.”

If that sounds familiar, it’s because many people say exactly the same things about Cuomo.

It is understood that Governor Cuomo wants to run for President. I don’t know how he could pull that off in 2020, but we can expect to see him on the Democrat ticket in 2024. He needs to put the nursing home death scandal behind him before he runs. I am not sure that a biased report by the State Health Commissioner can accomplish that.

We Need To Learn From The Mistakes Made In New York

New York has had a very high percentage of deaths from the coronavirus compared to  other states in the nation. This is not by chance–it is the result of bad decisions made at the beginning of the pandemic and throughout the crisis. Yesterday The National Review posted an article detailing the decisions that exacerbated the outbreak.

The article reports:

Cuomo made three breathtakingly bad moves in March that in retrospect amounted to catastrophe. First, Cuomo failed to call for, and even actively discouraged, informal social-distancing measures in early March. Next was the delay in mid-March in ordering formal closures when the virus started rampaging through his state. Third was his March 25 edict to long-term care facilities that they must accept infected patients, which caused a mass deadly outbreak among helpless, trapped, elderly New Yorkers.

The article notes:

Like de Blasio, who as late as March 10 was on MSNBC telling New Yorkers that most of us were at little to no risk and that the coronavirus was much like seasonal flu, Cuomo persisted with his don’t-scare-away-the-tourists happy talk well into March, the critical month. On March 1, the day New York State logged its first confirmed case of the coronavirus (a health-care worker who had just returned from Iran), Cuomo assured everyone that, although one of his own daughters had called him in a state of panic, there was no need to be afraid. “The facts defeat fear. Because the reality is reassuring. It is deep breath time. . . . This is not our first rodeo with this type of situation in New York,” Cuomo boasted, adding, “Excuse our arrogance as New Yorkers,” but the state was fully prepared. “We don’t even think it’s going to be as bad as it was in other countries,” he said. “We’re going to have a special effort for our nursing homes, et cetera, congregate facilities where senior citizens are being treated.” He further boasted that the state had broken free of federal restraints about testing: “Now we are actually in control of the systems ourselves. And as New Yorkers we like control.”

Summing up, Cuomo said, “Once you know the facts, once you know the reality, it is reassuring and we should relax because that’s what’s dictated by the reality of the situation.”

On March 6 Cuomo insisted, “The overall risk level of the novel coronavirus in New York remains low” and said, “We have more people in this country dying from the flu than we have dying from coronavirus.” As late as March 8, Cuomo, instead of advising people to stay away from the subway, advised New Yorkers to seek out less-crowded subway cars, the mass-transit equivalent of saying, “Let them eat cake.”

The coronavirus was an unknown entity, and I don’t blame Governor Cuomo for his original missteps.  However, I do believe that Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio were slow to acknowledge and react to the danger. Contrast this with President Trump who had the foresight to stop air travel from China. Leadership matters.

Ungrateful Doesn’t Even Come Close To Describing This

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about a recent statement by Governor Cuomo of New York. On Tuesday The Governor reminded everyone who came to New York to help with the coronavirus crisis that they are required to pay New York State income tax for any wages they earned while working there.

The article reports:

Health care workers that traveled from across the country to volunteer to help fight New York’s coronavirus outbreak will have to pay state taxes, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced according to PIX 11.

In a Tuesday news conference, Cuomo said the state isn’t “in a position to provide any subsidies right now because we have a $13 billion deficit,” PIX 11 reported.

“So there’s a lot of good things I’d like to do, and if we get federal funding, we can do, but it would be irresponsible for me to sit here looking at a $13 billion deficit and say I’m gonna spend more money, when I can’t even pay the essential services,” he added.

The article notes:

Samaritan’s Purse, the Christian humanitarian aid organization that sent volunteers to New York to set up a temporary hospital, wasn’t aware that their organization would have to pay the state income tax.

“Our financial comptroller called me, and he said, ‘Do you know that all of you are going to be liable for New York state income tax?’ Ken Isaacs, the Vice President of the organization told PIX 11.

“I said, ‘What?’”

 According to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, nonresidents who work in the state for more than 14 days must pay state income taxes. New York has one of the highest state income taxes in the country, ranging from 4% to 8.82% according to Business Insider

“What we’re even more concerned about than the money is the bureaucracy and the paperwork, and I think that once that’s unleashed, once you start filing that, you have to do that for like a whole year or something,” Isaac continued. 

Wow. The Governor may want to think about how this might impact the state’s ability to get people to come help in a future crisis.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Breitbart is reporting today that Governor Cuomo of New York has ordered election officials to automatically mail New Yorkers a postage-paid absentee ballot application during the coronavirus pandemic. These ballots are for the June primary, but if the idea is carried over to the presidential election, I can now guarantee that Governor Cuomo will be re-elected, Joe Biden will win New York State in the presidential election, and all Democrat members of the state legislature will be reelected by overwhelming majorities.

The article reports:

“I am issuing an Executive Order to ensure every New York voter automatically receives a postage-paid application for an absentee ballot because no New Yorker should have to choose between their health and their right to vote,” the governor continued.

Recently, Cuomo also issued an executive order allowing residents to vote absentee in the June 23 primary election, the announcement noted.

However, the New York GOP called the move an “illegal and unconstitutional political power grab that will severely undermine the integrity of our elections,” according to Breitbart News.

“The ‘never let a crisis go to waste’ mentality has permeated the Governor’s office and Cuomo is using this pandemic as a reason to expand his powers and force his political agenda through,” said chairman Nick Langworthy.

The article concludes:

Nearly 30 million mail-in ballots sent to registered voters went missing in the last four election cycles dating back to 2012, Breitbart News reported.

“In 2012, for instance, more than 33 million mail-in ballots were sent to registered voters. Of those, nearly four million went missing, more than 425,000 were undeliverable, and almost 260,000 were rejected,” the article read.

In a statement, Public Legal Interest Foundation (PILF) President J. Christian Adams called vote-by-mail a “disaster.”

“People who think it works haven’t studied the failures. The facts show mail voting doesn’t work,” he concluded.

This is not the path to an honest election. This is a dry run. If the Governor is successful in doing this, he will push for a mail-in presidential election. If he is successful, New York State will never again have an honest election.

How Certificate Of Need Laws Endanger Americans

The Federalist posted an article today about Certificate of Need (CON) laws and how they are hindering America’s response to the coronavirus.

The article reports:

During a Tuesday press conference, Cuomo lashed out at the federal government for not sending enough ventilators as the Wuhan coronavirus continues to rattle the state. “Four hundred ventilators? I need 30,000 ventilators,” Cuomo said. “You want a pat on the back for sending 400 ventilators?” The state is projecting it will need approximately 140,000 beds in 14 to 21 days, which is higher than its previous estimation of 110,000 beds by early to mid-May.

However, New York, along with 35 other states and the District of Columbia, have in place what are known as certificate-of-need (CON) laws. According to Reason, “Their stated purpose is to keep hospitals from overspending, and thus from having to charge higher prices to make up for unnecessary outlays of capital costs. But in practice, they mean hospitals must get a state agency’s permission before offering new services or installing a new medical technology. Depending on the state, everything from the number of hospital beds to the installation of a new MRI machine could be subject to CON review.”

The article notes the impact of CON laws on patient mortality rates:

In addition to causing a lack of proper equipment, these rules harm patients. According to a study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, states with CON laws have a 2.5 to 5 percent higher mortality rate than those without. Wait times have also been affected, with the average delay in New York City emergency rooms ranging from seven to 10 hours before the virus outbreak added strain to an already poorly operating medical system.

The article concludes:

Luckily, efforts to eradicate this onerous red tape have already begun, as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order suspending CON law enforcement in the state. Governors like Cuomo would be wise to follow suit and slash these burdensome regulations to allow for the expansion of new medical facilities and COVID-19 treatments.

More government control of our health-care industry is the exact opposite of what should be happening in Washington, D.C, and states around the country. Instead, lawmakers across the nation should be focusing on getting rid of these big-government barriers that make it more difficult for doctors and medical experts to treat patients. Letting the market solve its own problems is the answer to many of our problems in health care. The government needs to know when to step out of the way.

On March 23, I posted an article about how CON laws are impacting New Hampshire’s response to the coronavirus. Hopefully the problems caused by these laws during this health crisis will cause states to revisit them. Unfortunately, hospitals like the monopolies the laws give them and are willing to put forth massive lobbying efforts. Lawmakers need to rise above the politics and lobbyists and do what is best for the people they are supposed to represent.