Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis touted his state’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic in nursing homes, saying that they did “the exact opposite” of what New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo decided to do in the early days of the pandemic.
“We in Florida had the exact opposite order. We said you can’t send a COVID-positive nursing home resident back into the nursing home because that is the most vulnerable population and you obviously would put them at risk,” the Republican governor told “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
“We established COVID-only nursing units, so if you had somebody test positive at a nursing home, they could be safely transferred and isolated so that the other residents were protected.”
Florida’s coronavirus death rate is ranked 28th among the other states and well behind New York, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
DeSantis told Tucker Carlson that his administration viewed taking care of its nursing home residents as “the tip of the spear” of how they would handle the virus.
“Around mid-to-late March, we were all given models saying, ‘You’re not going to have any hospital beds in five days.’ Every governor got those models,” he explained.
“I questioned the assumptions under those models. I didn’t think that they were valid and I said ‘I’m not going to construct our policy around that,’ but even if I was wrong, I would build more beds somewhere rather than throw these elderly people back into the fire of a nursing home where they could contaminate and infect a lot of other people.”
He added, “So it was just an important judgment we were all called upon to make and I think Florida did it right and obviously other states took a different path.”
“The void allowed misinformation and conspiracy, and now people are left with the thought of, ‘Did my loved one have to die?’ And that is a brutal, brutal question to pose to a person,” Cuomo said on Monday, according to CNN.
“And I want everyone to know everything was done. Everything was done by the best minds in the best interest.”
While the Democratic governor took responsibility for the “void,” he said they were “too focused on doing the job and addressing the crisis of the moment.”
More than 15,000 elderly New Yorkers in nursing homes have died of COVID-19, according to WWNY-TV, based on data from the New York Department of Health.
Some of those deaths have been blamed on the March 2020 order issued by Cuomo’s health department that required nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients. The order was not rescinded until May.
New York has the second-highest death rate in the country with 46,188 total deaths, according to data from WorldOMeters.
Florida, in comparison, has a death rate of 0.72 per 100 nursing home residents while New York has a death rate of 1.54, according to data from AARP.
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