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.