Cuomo: I Guess We Need to Change Our Disastrously Terrible Coronavirus Policies for Nursing Homes

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Posted: May 11, 2020 10:35 AM
Cuomo: I Guess We Need to Change Our Disastrously Terrible Coronavirus Policies for Nursing Homes

Source: Darren McGee/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo via AP

I'm tempted to chalk this one up in the 'better late than never' column, but hoo boy. New York's erstwhile policies were so obviously reckless and idiotic that it's hard to assign any credit to Cuomo for finally replacing them in the second week of May. In fact, I'm inclined to react to the announcements below the same way I did when Cuomo finally told the public that the New York City subway system would be cleaned on a nightly basis: Wait, that wasn't already happening already, and it's taken you this long to get around to doing it? How? So gone are the days of mandatory admissions of COVID-positive nursing home residents returning from hospitals, and allowing asymptomatic nursing home employees with positive coronavirus diagnoses to show up for work:


The threatening and indignant tone is hard to swallow. The state of New York required nursing homes to take in residents with coronavirus, and explicitly permitted actively contagious COVID patients to work at those facilities, for months. Now here's Cuomo swooping in to clean up his mess, pretending like it's the nursing homes' fault that they were following state guidance all along. The data on how disproportionately lethal this disease is within nursing homes, which are populated exclusively with the most coronavirus-vulnerable people in our society, is really striking:


In any case, between the subway debacle, the taxation of healthcare workers who traveled to the state to help fulfill an urgent need, and this ungrateful wokeness, New York's leaders aren't exactly covering themselves in glory throughout this ordeal -- although everyone should be heartened by positive news like this:


The news is looking even better in Florida, where it looks increasingly like the media may owe Gov. Ron DeSantis an apology for their harsh criticism of his approach, as they clapped like trained seals at Cuomo, in spite of the unfolding disaster over which he was presiding:


Some in the media continue to share deeply misleading statistics in an effort to make even the most careful and successful red states' reopening plans look like callous exercises in human death and misery. Writing at National Review, A.G. Hamilton exposes junk reporting and dispels myths:

(1) Given the incubation period and a lag in testing, new cases that are identified on a certain day are unlikely to have any relationship to policies implemented days earlier. (2) “New cases” is a very misleading metric because it does not account for increases in testing. The rate of positive tests in Texas has declined significantly. Mainstream outlets have attempted to tie new cases and deaths to recent re-opening actions in Florida, Georgia, and Texas, despite it being clear that any spike in cases or deaths would not be apparent for weeks after such policy changes. Such actions could lead to a spike in new cases, but trying to tie them to those seen right now is clearly incorrect.

In addition, members of the press continue to conflate reporting of new cases with a growth in the rate of new cases. The New York Times and Axios have both recently published charts showing large increases in new cases around the country when New York is excluded from the data (though the latter has since updated its article containing such a chart to account for criticism similar to my own). Those outlets and other members of the press then wrongly used the charts to justify claims that the number of new cases is not going down and the “U.S. curve isn’t bending.” These charts do not account for massive increases in testing throughout the country. Charting [that data accurately]...makes it clear that the rate of new cases is actually decreasing.

Americans are owed sober, serious, nuanced, apolitical coverage of a deadly pandemic. Too many in the news media are proving themselves incapable of achieving that crucial mission, which is why public trust in the press is so abysmally low. Journalists are richly earning the distrust they lament.

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