Should NY Gov. Cuomo resign amidst COVID nursing home scandal?
- As of February 23, there have been 1.6 million coronavirus cases in New York with 47,134 deaths.
- Andrew Cuomo is the Democratic Governor of New York. He assumed office on January 1, 2011. His current term ends on January 1, 2023.
- On March 25, Governor Cuomo signed an executive order forcing nursing homes in his state to accept patients who tested positive for coronavirus. Around 4,800 New Yorkers died from COVID-19 in those nursing homes from March to May—approximately 25% of all fatalities in the state.
- Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, admitted that Cuomo’s administration “delayed releasing data about the death because officials worried the information would be used against them.”
- Amidst the height of the pandemic’s hold over his city, Cuomo authored a book entitled “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.” It was released in the Fall of 2020, wherein he was later awarded an Emmy to recognize his “leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic” via television.
The COVID-19 pandemic caught the country off guard in terms of the infection rates and caring for patients and high-risk individuals. According to NPR, New York was 'the original epicenter of the pandemic' and 'has the highest death total.' It's extremely unfortunate that the coronavirus took so many elderly citizens. Still, Governor Cuomo was also trying to protect all high-risk New Yorkers. He needed to transfer patients out of hospitals to make room for the thousands admitted into hospitals daily with COVID-19, which, according to the CDC, is now around '2,300 to 7,300 new confirmed COVID-19' admissions daily, and was much higher at the time Governor Cuomo issued his advisory.
Governor Cuomo's advisory, released in March of last year, required 'nursing homes to accept patients transferred from hospitals [. . .] if the patients were deemed medically stable,' according to CNN. His advisory explicitly stated that patients had to be 'deemed medically stable' to be transferred, so it isn't as if Governor Cuomo was carelessly transferring unchecked, infected patients to healthy nursing homes.
Many people overlook the fact that it wasn't just patients who were bringing infection into the nursing homes. Nursing home staff members were coming from the outside, infected world. It's impossible for anyone to completely monitor how careful the staff members are before coming to work—even Governor Cuomo. According to CNN, Governor Cuomo said, 'Covid did not get into the nursing homes by people coming from hospitals [. . .] Covid got into the nursing homes by staff walking into the nursing home.' Regardless, nobody could have predicted the extent of this pandemic, and hindsight is always 20/20.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo should feel inclined to resign from his position after the utter disservice he committed to New York residents. New York was the only state that withheld nursing home deaths when tallying fatalities from the virus.
Cuomo has received prior donations of 1.5 million dollars from the Greater New York Hospital Association, which has greatly benefited from the immunity clause that he implemented. The bill essentially removes any civil or criminal responsibility from hospitals' heads and nursing homes in New York. While nothing is clear, conclusions can be drawn that Cuomo pushed the bill to return the favor of the massive donation he recently received.
The amount of COVID deaths in New York nursing homes has been underreported by nearly 50%. The clause also led to medical facilities being quite careless in the way they treated their patients throughout the pandemic. New York State Attorney General Leticia James reported that nursing homes failed to follow basic infection protocol regularly. With liability off their backs, it appears that these facilities have thrown common precautionary measures out of the window.
Cuomo personally admitted he wouldn't feel comfortable with his own mother residing in a New York nursing home. He is subjecting people to treatment that he wouldn't want his own family to receive. While Cuomo appeared to be a symbol of unity and grit during a tough time, he has immensely let his home state down.