Getting to the bottom of Cuomo’s coronavirus nursing home scandal

Janice Dean reports on the weather for Fox News. She lost both of her in-laws to the Wuhan coronavirus. Both contracted the disease at long-term care facilities, but her mother in-law died at a hospital.

New York apparently does not include cases like the mother-in-law’s in totaling up the nursing home death count. Thus, New York is under counting the number of deaths that arose at such facilities.

Dean has long wanted to testify about New York state’s disastrous response to the coronavirus in nursing homes. However, she was removed from the witness list for a hearing by the legislature on this subject.

Dean says a Republican New York Senator told her the Democrat majority was “uncomfortable having [her] as a witness.” Dean believes the majority was responding to pressure from Governor Cuomo or his associates. Cuomo’s office denies the charge.

The Republicans countered by inviting Dean to their own event. She called for an independent investigation into whether nursing homes kept coronavirus patients separated, had enough employees, tracked workers who worked at multiple health care facilities, and provided staffers with adequate protective gear. There’s also the fact that the Cuomo administration required these facilities to accept people known to be infected.

Because of the way New York counts coronavirus deaths (see above), no one knows how many people died from the virus after contracting it at such facilities. The Cuomo administration refuses to provide such information even though it has been requested by both Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature. Clearly, Cuomo is trying to prevent a full assessment of the carnage that resulted from his policies.

Fortunately, as I discussed here, the Trump Justice Department has sent a letter to Governor Cuomo (among other governors) seeking this information. The letter asks for:

The number of Public Nursing Home residents, employees, other staff, guests, and visitors who died of COVID-19 including those who died in a Public Nursing Home or after being transferred to a hospital or other medical facility, hospice, home care, or any other location.

(Emphasis added)

The DOJ requested this information, along with three other categories of information, in order to evaluate whether to initiate investigations under the federal Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), which protects the civil rights of persons in state-run nursing homes, among others. I hope the DOJ will succeed where Janice Dean and New York state legislators from both parties have failed in prying loose information that should have made public months ago.

The Cuomo administration’s handling of the pandemic at long-term care facilities was scandalous. So are its efforts to cover up the consequences of the bungling. So are the efforts of the mainstream media — successful so far — to depict Cuomo as a hero of the pandemic.

We’ll see how well that narrative withstands the DOJ’s request for information and its possible investigation under federal civil rights law.

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