We still don’t know the true death toll from COVID in NY nursing homes
Letters to the Editor — Jan. 30, 2021
AG report finds NY nursing homes with low staffing had most deaths
‘Who cares?!’ Cuomo callously addresses COVID nursing home death report
“It’s not about pointing fingers or blame. This became a political football,” Gov. Cuomo said Friday in response to questions about Attorney General Tish James’ finding that the state vastly underreported COVID-19 deaths of nursing-home residents. “Who cares,” he asked, if they died in a home or a hospital? “They died.”
What a callous reaction to the deaths of thousands of senior citizens, which James found may have occurred because of Cuomo’s March 25 mandate forcing homes to take in COVID-positive patients.
And if it doesn’t matter where they died, why did Cuomo and his Health Department work so hard to obscure the number, stonewalling lawmakers’ demands and Freedom of Information filings for months?
They certainly knew what it was, since Health Commissioner Howard Zucker finally released it the evening James’ report dropped: He said 12,743 nursing-home residents died or were presumed to have died from COVID-19 as of Jan. 19 — validating James’ estimate of 13,000.
But earlier in the day, the DOH Web site had that figure at 8,740. Can anyone truly trust Zucker’s new numbers, or is there some other deception?
Cuomo’s insane edict — which he rescinded in May — sent virus-positive patients into the state’s most vulnerable population, as Cuomo himself noted in saying the virus would spread in nursing homes like “fire through dry grass.” That’s why families, and so many others, care how many nursing-home residents died.
As for the gov’s supposed aversion to pointing fingers, he did it himself in the same press conference: “If you think there was a mistake, then go talk to the federal government,” he said, again pretending the feds made him issue that March order. “Where this starts is frankly a political attack from the prior federal administration” and its Health and Human Services spokesman, Michael Caputo.
Even now that his coverup has been uncovered, Cuomo still can’t apologize. He claimed Friday that everyone in his administration did everything they could to prevent deaths. But what he said earlier in the week was closer to the mark. “Incompetent government kills people,” he declared in an interview. “More people died than needed to die in COVID. That’s the truth.”
It certainly is.
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