Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) is attempting to shift blame onto President Trump for a New York directive that sent coronavirus patients into nursing homes, risking the lives of elderly, vulnerable people.
For weeks, despite access to the governor at daily press briefings, a fawning press failed to question the governor about an ill-conceived state directive that may be responsible for the staggering number of coronavirus deaths in New York nursing homes and adult care facilities.
A March 25th state directive required such facilities to admit patients with either suspected or confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus. The directive even prohibited these facilities from requiring a coronavirus test for patients being admitted from a hospital. Cuomo only reversed the disastrous policy earlier this month.
"New York followed the president's agency guidance," Cuomo claimed at Saturday's press briefing.
"What New York did was follow what the Republican administration said to do," Cuomo continued. "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."
The Associated Press reported Friday that more than 4,300 recovering coronavirus patients were sent to already vulnerable facilities under the state's controversial directive. More than 5,800 people have died as a result of the coronavirus in New York nursing and adult care facilities.
Despite the governor's claims, Cuomo administration officials say the original directive was the result of the governor's fear that the state's hospital system would become stained during the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, other states moved to protect vulnerable nursing homes, like Louisiana which barred hospitalized coronavirus patients from transferring to nursing homes for 30 days with limited exceptions.
It turns out New York had plenty of room to house elderly patients outside nursing homes and adult care facilities, as Gov. Cuomo has even admitted. President Trump approved a temporary hospital at New York City's Javitz Center to house and treat coronavirus patients. The president also sent a floating hospital packed with emergency supplies to free up hospital space in the state.
"He worked it out so we always had available beds. Nobody was deprived of a bed or medical coverage in any way," Gov. Cuomo said last Sunday. "And still, people died. Still, people died. Older people, vulnerable people are going to die from this virus. That is going to happen despite whatever you do. Because with all our progress as a society, we can't keep everyone alive."
The governor's callous defense of the state directive did little to soothe the anger of family members who see the directive as a contributing factor in the loss of their loved ones.
"The way this has been handled by the state is totally irresponsible, negligent and stupid," said Elaine Mazzotta, who talked to the AP about the loss of her mother from a suspected COVID-19 infection at a Long Island nursing home. "They knew better. They shouldn’t have sent these people into nursing homes."
A group of New York lawmakers are now calling for a federal investigation into the governor's policies regarding nursing homes during the coronavirus outbreak.