New York governor Andrew Cuomo is personally responsible for the death of more than 5,000 New Yorkers after a terrible policy decision that forced nursing homes and other adult care facilities to accept COVID-19 positive individuals – essentially introducing ticking time bombs into the already at-risk communities.
Cuomo’s policy directed nursing homes and adult care facilities to accept patients coming not just from hospitals and other facilities with incidents of coronavirus, but also forced those same programs to accept coronavirus-positive patients and those recovering from the virus, many of whom continued to be contagious.
Rather than admitting he made a mistake, at a press conference on Saturday Gov. Cuomo looked for scapegoat to blame for his missteps in handling the virus and set his sights on one that the media would quickly accept – President Trump.
Cuomo falsely claimed that he was simply following the president’s directives when he issued his nursing home plan.
“New York followed the president’s agencies’ guidance,” he said. “What New York did was follow what the Republican Administration said to do. That’s not my attempt to politicize it. It’s my attempt to depoliticize it. So don’t criticize the state for following the president’s policy.”
What Cuomo is referring to is a guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) referencing how nursing homes and other adult care facilities should handle the admission of new individuals.
The guidance specifically states that these facilities should still accept individuals that they would have accepted prior to the outbreak, but by no means does it say that the must or should accept COVID-19 positive patients into the general population.
The CDC guidance says that, “nursing homes should admit any individuals that they would normally admit to their facility, including individuals from hospitals where a case of COVID-19 was/is present.” This does not mean those who tested positive.
The CDC required that “any newly admitted and readmitted resident with a COVID-19 case be placed in a designated COVID-19 care unit,” and said that, “those who have met the criteria to have recovered can return to a regular unit in the nursing home.”
“This is a political season, I get it,” Cuomo said earlier. “I’m not going to get into the political back-and-forth, but anyone who wants to ask why did the state do that with COVID patients in nursing homes, it’s because the state followed President Trump’s CDC guidance.”
In a piece written by The New York Times, however, Cuomo was criticized for sending COVID-19 patients into many homes, particularly homes that serve minority and low-income communities, that could not adequately separate those with coronavirus from the general population.
Under threat of state repercussions, these facilities were forced to take in individuals recovering from COVID-19, causing major outbreaks.
Cuomo’s administration ultimately rescinded the policy but at that point it was already too late. The Associated Press found that 4,300 COVID-19 patients were sent to nursing homes before New York scrapped the program, giving rise to an extended outbreak in the state.
Cuomo, however, continues to defend the decision, citing other states like New Jersey and Michigan, where COVID-19 patients were sent to nursing and adult care facilities. In both of those states as many as 50% of coronavirus-related deaths have occurred in nursing homes.