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.

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 Were They Thinking?

Right now, New York is a hot spot for the coronavirus. Samaritan’s Purse has erected a hospital in Central Park, and the USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship with 1,000 beds for patients, has arrived in New York harbor. New Yorkers have been asked to stay home to avoid further spread of the virus. So have they listened?

Yesterday The U.K. Daily Mail posted pictures of New Yorkers celebrating the arrival of the USNS Comfort.

Here are some pictures:

Obviously the arrival of the ship is a historic moment, and represents hope for the city. However, how many of the people in the crowd that came out to watch will be in New York City’s hospitals within the next two weeks? We need to learn to follow directions. At this point in time, that is a critical skill.

 

Somehow The Government Doesn’t Seem To Be Able To Get This Done

WITN Channel 7 posted an article on Thursday about the recovery funds for Hurricane Matthew. Yes, that’s Matthew–not Flo.

The article reports that because of administrative mistakes and inexperience, federal housing funds for victims of Hurricane Matthew have been delayed. As of July (two years after the hurricane) only 6% of the hurricane relief funds have been distributed.

Many organizations, such as Operation Blessing, Samaritan’s Purse, and other groups, have been working to help victims of Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Flo repair their homes, but are still a lot of people waiting for help.

In New Bern, it is currently very difficult to find a contractor to do repair work. Some less-than-ethical contractors came in from out of state, did part of a job, and left with the payment. The New Bern Convention Center is not expected to open until September.

It is a disgrace that two years after a natural disaster people are still waiting for federal aid. It is also discouraging that we have had a major disaster since Hurricane Matthew that we have not fully recovered from and that this year’s hurricane season is rapidly approaching.

 

 

Hurricane Florence

I would like to say a few words about Hurricane Florence and its aftermath. I live in New Bern, North Carolina, one of the areas hit hard by the hurricane. Thankfully the damage to my house was limited to a tree coming down in the driveway and an amazing amount of tree parts that were brought out to the curb. However, not everyone was so fortunate.

During the storm, the Cajun Navy helped rescue people who were stranded by the flood. Other groups also assisted in that effort. Since the storm, we have seen volunteers come in from all parts of the country to help restore power, to help feed people who lost their homes, to help people more large trees that fell, to help remove wallboard and items from flooded homes, and to collect clothing and school supplies for those in need. Neighbors and friends are helping each other in the recovery. There have been free meals for those in need provided by churches and outside groups. Some of the groups involved in helping people impacted by the hurricane are Operation Blessing, Samaritan’s Purse, and Team Rubicon.There are others, but those are the ones I am familiar with. The local churches are playing a major role in the recovery–Temple Baptist Church has provided meals; Without Limits Christian Center has acted as a home base for Operation Blessing. Churches in nearby towns also impacted by the hurricane have also provided food and clothing for those who need it.

The students in Craven County will be out of school tentatively until October 8. The early college students went back to school on October 1. There are still many displaced students and teachers, and I am sure this will be a challenging year for all of us.

This has not been an easy time for coastal North Carolina, but it has been a time of neighbors helping each other and sharing resources. It will be a long process to get back to normal, but we are definitely moving in the right direction. The New Bern Mum Fest will go on as scheduled on October 12 – 14th. Our city is open for business. We have a long way to go, but we will get there through working together and helping each other.

Leading By Example

This is the list of where President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump‘s $1 million dollar donation for victims of Hurricane Harvey is going:

The list is posted at the El Paso Times.