Analysis: Cuomo Keeps Digging

Posted: Jul 09, 2020 10:25 AM
Analysis: Cuomo Keeps Digging

Source: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's latest excuse for his abject, lethal failures on nursing homes is as ridiculous as any of the other deflections and lies he's offered thus far. Cortney wrote about Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean -- who lost both of her in-laws to COVID in New York long-term care facilities -- blasting the new spin, and it really does need to be seen to be believed. It's one thing to royally screw up in the midst of a multi-faceted and overwhelming emergency. It's another to brazenly pretend as if those wrong decisions never really happened, weren't your fault, or didn't have a serious impact. Cuomo has attempted all three, and cannot be allowed to get away with it:

This is insulting. The state forced these facilities to accept COVID-positive residents, and even barred incoming residents from being subjected to a testing requirement. They knew this was risky, as evidenced by a provision quietly tucked into the state's hastily-passed budget providing a liability shield for nursing homes on these exact issues. Pushing coronavirus-infected, vulnerable, elderly people into homes filled with other vulnerable, elderly people was insane on its face. It proved very deadly. Once the catastrophic error started to become clear, New York began its cover up, slyly changing its method for counting nursing home COVID deaths to exclude people who expired in ambulances or hospitals after contracting the illness in their living facilities. And once the order was finally reversed entirely, it was scrubbed from the state's website. But sure, blame the disastrous resulting death toll on infected caregivers. Oh wait, that was also part of Cuomo's horrific policy:

A policy that allows COVID positive, but asymptomatic nursing home staffers to continue to go to work in New York was reversed on Wednesday evening by Health Commissioner Howard Zucker. The prior policy ... allowed nursing home staffers who do not show symptoms of the virus to continue to work in nursing homes with COVID-positive residents. The new policy announced by Zucker would require staffers who test positive to not return to work for two weeks.

This about-face happened at the very end of April. A prominent Republican politician had been very publicly raked over the coals for admitting he didn't realize asymptomatic COVID-positive people were contagious roughly one month earlier, yet this astoundingly reckless allowance remained in place in New York weeks later. And now the Cuomo administration is trying to cite this failure as the "true" culprit, as if the other epic disaster was somehow irrelevant -- and as if the "asymptomatic employee" policy wasn't also theirs, which it was. As for the state's blame shift to the CDC and the federal government, it's again worth noting that the director of CMS disputes Cuomo's claim, and other governors like Florida's Ron DeSantis managed to do a much better job of protecting his much larger senior population by proactively avoiding turning nursing homes into hothouses of disease. There's also this, for additional perspective:

This is part of why petty, partisan finger-pointing from the likes of Eric Holder, who singles out a handful of GOP-led states for criticism, is so moronic -- as highlighted effectively by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. The California question is an important one, even setting aside the role massive public protests may have played in Los Angeles County's massive outbreak. One factor that may be a consistent thread among the sunbelt states getting hammered with new cases and increased hospitalizations (but so far, not a spike in deaths) is the prevalence of air conditioning in public spaces. That might help explain this discrepancy:

I'm open to any number of explanations here, but clearly the "bad, anti-science GOP governors" template just doesn't apply, based on the available facts. To continue to peddle that big lie is to simply ignore major counter-examples and glaring data. But if the Holders of the world insist on making such crass comparisons, he may struggle to answer both Abbott's pushback, and stats like this:

I'll leave you with this warning from Dr. Anthony Fauci against taking too much solace in still-decreasing death rates in newly hard-hit states. Let's hope that trend continues, despite the big jump in infections.

UPDATE - This is concerning (Florida's numbers are also up), and goes to my point about deaths being a lagging COVID indicator.  Read to the end about why the rise (thankfully) hasn't been steeper: