New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s national profile has risen dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), partially from glowing coverage courtesy of the mainstream media. Articles and televised segments portray the ascending Democrat as a tireless advocate for overwhelmed hospitals, ensuring they receive the equipment and supplies New York City’s integrated health care system desperately needs.
While pundits prepare to anoint Governor Cuomo as the Democratic Party’s newest savior, inconvenient questions have arisen about his commitment to helping New York’s beleaguered nursing homes. (RELATED: Former CDC Chief Claims Cuomo Could’ve Prevented 50-80% of N.Y. Deaths)
Outbreaks in elderly care have played out with tragic predictability. The New York Times has linked one-third of deaths nationwide to long-term care facilities.
Yet despite the loss of more than 25,600 Americans in these facilities — including 5,300 in New York — it took Cuomo until Mother’s Day to reverse a decision requiring long-term care facilities to accept patients regardless of their COVID-19 status. NBC News further details:
After a Long Island nursing home was required to take recovering COVID-19 patients under the state policy, an outbreak of the virus killed at least 24 residents — only three of whom had been transferred from hospitals, an NBC News investigation found.
Cuomo denied that the change was a policy reversal, saying nursing homes could have contacted state officials at any time if they were not equipped to care for infected residents who wanted to be admitted.
However, Cuomo stated at a recent briefing that providing nursing homes with personal protective equipment wasn’t the state’s responsibility. (RELATED: Ted Cruz Criticizes Cuomo for Blue State Bailout Plea)
Before Sunday’s policy change, nursing home operators didn’t even have to tell patients or their family members if there were cases of COVID-19 within their facilities despite their residents’ diminished immunity.
Business Insider has more on Governor Cuomo’s newly unveiled steps, taken belatedly for 5,300 New Yorkers.
Workers at homes, for instance, now have to be tested twice per week, Cuomo said. They also have to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks and gloves when interacting with residents suspected to have COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Visits from family members are also banned unless someone is dying.
If nursing homes can’t sustain the new criteria — like if they lack quarantine abilities or equipment — they need to contact the New York’s health department for the residents’ transfer, Cuomo said.
According to one study, the average nursing home has 104 beds. There are at least a dozen cases nationwide of someone contracting COVID-19 at adult care facilities leading to the deaths of 50 or more residents.
As of Tuesday morning, New York’s death toll stood at 27,003. Observers universally recognized New York City as the epicenter of COVID-19 in the United States.
Amid the media fanfare, there seemed little room at first for scrutiny of Cuomo. While new cases of COVID-19 are increasing in meatpacking communities (RELATED: The Latest COVID Hot Spots as America Begins to Reopen), they have decreased significantly in New York, giving dedicated reporters time to evaluate Cuomo’s response objectively.
Their assessments could come back to haunt his presidential ambitions.