New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has really run the gamut when it comes to responding to criticism over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic – specifically the part where he ordered nursing homes in the state to admit residents who had tested positive for the disease. That order is almost certainly responsible for more than 6,500 deaths in nursing homes in New York, but don’t tell that to Cuomo, because he doesn’t want to hear it. He’ll blame the Trump administration. He’ll distract by calling the disease the “European Flu.” He’ll refuse to answer questions about it.
Or now we have his new strategy: To just outright deny that the Health Department’s March 25 order had anything at all to do with the deaths in the first place.
“The virus preys on senior citizens,” said Cuomo in a conference call with reporters last week. “There’s a whole report done with data. The way the virus got into nursing homes was from two possible carriers — before we even knew about it. The staff, working staff, at the nursing home brought in the virus, or potentially family members before we stopped family visits brought in the virus and this happened at a time back in February when we didn’t even know the virus was circulating in New York State, that’s how the virus got into the nursing home.”
Cuomo seems to be suggesting that there were two possible infected patients who…somehow infected half the nursing homes in the entire state? Boy, those people must really get around. It seems to us that Cuomo doesn’t actually have a clue what happened in the state’s nursing homes, but he knows somehow that it didn’t have anything to do with any decisions his administration made. To bolster that claim, he uses an internal report authored by his own Health Department! We didn’t do anything wrong, and here’s a report we wrote up to prove it!
“If you’d actually like to understand some facts, I’ll have them send you a full report that was done and then you can help people with the facts,” Cuomo said, his dander up. “Ignorance doesn’t help grieving people. The rule that the State had which was from the CDC guidance, right? The State didn’t make it up, they were following the CDC guidance. Now you can say, well, State Health Department was stupid to follow the federal guidance and you may have a point there. But the rules said the nursing home can’t discriminate on the basis of COVID. The law also said a nursing home cannot accept a person who they cannot treat effectively while protecting the other residents. That’s the law.”
But an assemblyman from Cuomo’s own party doesn’t see it that way.
“The governor and his administration are stuck trying to figure out which lies they need to defend and how best to gaslight the public to believe that they did everything to save nursing home lives,” said Ron Kim (D-Flushing). “We need the governor to tell the truth and own up to his mistakes.”
It doesn’t seem as though that’s part of Cuomo’s wheelhouse.