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Analysis: Damning Report from Democratic NY Attorney General Confirms Cuomo Nursing Home Scandal

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

We've been shouting about this from the rooftops for months. At first, it was dismissed as a right-wing talking point. Then it was widely ignored, even after the Associated Press confirmed it in an in-depth, fairly scathing review. But this is going to be much harder to sweep under the rug. Here we have The New York Times publishing the results of a 76-page report arising from an investigation by New York's Democratic Attorney General – which concludes that the Cuomo administration underreported nursing home deaths in the Empire State by approximately 50 percent. I wonder if this detail will make it into the paperback edition of the governor's self-aggrandizing book:


An investigation by the New York State attorney general has concluded that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration undercounted coronavirus-related deaths at nursing homes by as much as 50 percent. The count of deaths in the state’s nursing homes has been a source of controversy for Mr. Cuomo and state Health Department officials, who have been sensitive to any suggestion that decisions made at the outset of the pandemic may have caused some of those deaths, which the state puts at more than 8,700. They have also been accused of obscuring a more accurate estimate of nursing home deaths, because the state’s count only included the number of deaths at the facilities, rather than accounting for the residents who died at a hospital after being transferred there. In the 76-page report released on Thursday by the attorney general, Letitia James, a survey of nursing homes found consistent discrepancies between deaths reported to the attorney general’s investigators and those reported to and officially released by the Health Department.

There should be no getting around it at this point: This is an outrageous scandal. Much of the political media has been positively obsessed with assailing the COVID record of Florida's Republican Governor, Ron DeSantis, whose actual results have almost universally outperformed the sainted Cuomo's. Among the dubious and false attacks on DeSantis is the widespread belief that he's manipulated and obscured public health data to camouflage failings. This claim is largely rooted in the debunked ravings of a woman accused of multiple crimes. Among other things, Florida maintains a detailed COVID dashboard for the public to access, and The Atlantic's COVID data tracker awards Florida an "A" rating for its coronavirus data. In New York, the presiding administration forced COVID-positive people into nursing homes and long term care facilities, creating virus death traps. This policy killed thousands before it was quietly scrapped and scrubbed from the state's website. In order to make the related death toll look less horrific than it was, the Cuomo administration made a choice to under-count the bodies – by roughly half – using cynical sleight of hand tricks and other maneuvers. More details:


In one instance, an unnamed facility reported to the Health Department that it had 11 confirmed and presumed deaths on site through early August. The attorney general’s survey of that same facility, however, found 40 deaths, including 27 at the home and 13 in hospitals. Another facility reported one confirmed and six presumed Covid-19 deaths to the Health Department, according to the report. The attorney general’s office, however, said the facility reported to its investigators that there were more than four times that number — 31 dead — by mid-April...The attorney general asked 62 nursing homes — about a tenth of the state’s total — for information about on-site and in-hospital deaths related to the virus; investigators then cross-referenced that information with public reports of deaths issued by the Health Department. The deaths reported to the attorney general’s office at most of those facilities totaled 1,914, compared to the state’s much lower count of 1,229.

Extrapolate this out, and Cuomo's under-reported LTC facility deaths number in the thousands. Even some New York Democrats are starting to ask tougher questions of Cuomo's health commissioner, whom they're accusing of stonewalling. Republicans in New York are calling for the official's resignation. The buck, of course, stops at the top – with the man who, astoundingly, had this to say in a recent interview:


Note his little performance about how much the truth matters, then re-read the Times story above. This answer was not an effort at introspection, or Cuomo's version of a mea culpa, mind you. He was attacking Trump, of course. But no one in the entire United States needs to internalize these exact words than Cuomo himself – yet he's totally self-unaware about it. No, seriously:

Sage advice from the guy who literally wrote a book about how awesome his COVID leadership has been...during the middle of the pandemic, in which more people have died in his state than any other. And who eagerly accepted an Emmy Award and other accolades for his shamelessness. As a reminder, this is the same hack who Joe Biden went out of his way to showcase as a "model" for the nation on coronavirus (yes, really) over the summer. In the interest of fairness, Allahpundit begrudgingly notes that New York is bouncing back from its initial vaccine distribution fiasco and is now placing respectably among the 50 states, which is more than can be said of dead-last California. I'll leave you with Janice Dean, who lost both of her in-laws in New York nursing homes, and who's been shunted aside and nastily attacked by a Cuomo spokesgoon. She very much deserves the last word on this today:

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