Whether he likes it or not, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s rule in the Empire State will be remembered for several horrible decisions, but none as disastrous as his deadly March order that packed nursing homes with recovering COVID-19 patients.
More than 6,600 people lost their lives in New York nursing homes and adult care facilities after battling the disease, the state’s data shows.
According to The Associated Press, however, it appears that the death toll in senior homes is likely much higher than the state’s official tally.
The likely undercount is due to New York’s record-keeping policy, which does not tally infected facility residents who are taken to the hospital and die there.
While the state does not count the hospital transfers, it does list presumed COVID-19 fatalities alongside deaths confirmed to have been caused by the disease.
New York remains the only major outbreak state that records death counts in this manner.
Bronx-area facility Riverdale Nursing Home, which only has four official COVID-19 deaths according to the state, revealed that 21 of its residents died after battling the coronavirus.
The home’s administrator described to the AP how the virus had a “cascading effect” among residents, quickly spreading to the elderly living there.
New York only lists the home as having four COVID-related deaths.
While it’s not currently known if other facilities have similar discrepancies, the situation at Riverdale Nursing Home hints that the Cuomo administration’s account of events is woefully incomplete.
“How big a difference could it make? Since May, federal regulators have required nursing homes to submit data on coronavirus deaths each week, whether or not residents died in the facility or at a hospital,” the AP reported.
“Because the requirement came after the height of New York’s outbreak, the available data is relatively small. According to the federal data, roughly a fifth of the state’s homes reported resident deaths from early June to mid July — a tally of 323 dead, 65 percent higher than the state’s count of 195 during that time period.
“Even if half that undercount had held true from the start of the pandemic, that would translate into thousands more nursing home resident deaths than the state has acknowledged.”
Although Cuomo’s disastrous nursing home order was rescinded in May, it’s clear that the weeks it was allowed to stand have caused an untold amount of pain to American families.
The policy has been a nightmare for the governor, whose policy is being directly blamed for many of the deaths.
Fox News’ Janice Dean even took a swipe at Cuomo after losing her in-laws in New York nursing homes.
“My husband’s parents died of coronavirus in their elder care facilities. We lost his dad in late March and his mom two weeks later,” Dean said in July.
“My family wasn’t able to see them before they died, they weren’t given last rites, wakes, or funerals. They died alone.”
Dean’s story mirrors the heartbreak that many felt as loved ones died in March while the virus peaked across several states.
With draconian restrictions, many of them were unable to even hold a funeral.
Based on Cuomo’s past behavior of shifting blame for the deaths, it’s unlikely he’ll take responsibility for the carnage that took place among some of New York’s most vulnerable residents.
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