New York State Attorney General Letitia James issued a report on Thursday in which she accused the Cuomo administration of “severely undercounting” the number of COVID-19 deaths among those in nursing homes by as much as 50 percent, according to The New York Times.
Both James and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are Democrats.
The Times reported that the state’s Health Department counted only those COVID-19 deaths that occurred at the actual nursing homes, excluding the deaths of those “who died at a hospital after being transferred there.”
The divergence in the numbers came to light after “a survey of nursing homes found consistent discrepancies between deaths reported to the attorney general’s investigators and those reported to and officially released by the Health Department,” according to The Times’ description of the report.
“In one instance, an unnamed facility reported to the Health Department that it had 11 confirmed and presumed deaths on site through early August. The attorney general’s survey of that same facility, however, found 40 deaths, including 27 at the home and 13 in hospitals,” the paper reported.
The investigation also revealed that a number of facilities had “failed to comply with critical infection-control policies.” They had not isolated infected residents. Nor had they screened employees.
According to Worldometers, 43,123 residents have died as a result of COVID-19 in the state as of this writing.
Through Jan. 27, the Health Department puts the total number of deaths that occurred in both nursing homes and assisted care facilities statewide at 8,500, according to The Hill.
On March 25, the state ordered nursing homes and assisted care facilities to take back residents who had been discharged from hospitals after being treated for COVID-19. Needless to say, Cuomo faced serious backlash after this dangerous decision from facility operators, doctors, residents and their families.
How could he not see that putting patients in various stages of recovery, many of whom were still contagious, back into a group of elderly residents, the most vulnerable demographic, was a recipe for disaster?
In response to the Cuomo administration’s mandate, the AMDA, the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, issued a resolution which said in part, “admitting patients with suspected or documented Covid-19 infection represents a clear and present danger to all of the residents of a nursing home,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
Six weeks later, after the number of new coronavirus cases in the state’s facilities for the elderly had skyrocketed, as we knew it would, Cuomo reversed his unfortunate decision on May 10. By that time, however, a great deal of damage had been done.
Still, in October, he published a book entitled, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic,” in which he wrote about the tremendous job he had done guiding his state through the crisis.
Equally breathtaking, the following month, he won an Emmy award for the daily coronavirus briefings he held throughout the pandemic. Yes, in November the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences really did present its International Emmy Founders Award to the New York governor.
Cuomo was riding high.
It’s ironic that his administration would now come under fire for downplaying the extent of the deaths in the state.
Is anyone surprised?
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