Cuomo significantly undercounted coronavirus nursing home deaths

New York’s Attorney General has found that the state underreported Wuhan coronavirus deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50 percent. The AG’s report is here.

Why the discrepancy? Because the official count did not include nursing home residents who died at the hospital. How convenient.

In addition, some nursing home officials attributed deaths of infected residents to other causes. How convenient.

The official count isn’t meagre. It now stands at around 8,700, more than the number who have died from the virus in such states as Maryland, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Missouri. New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker says the number of people who have already died in nursing homes may reach nearly 9,700 when the counting is done.

But when those who died after being transferred to hospitals are added, the count is considerably higher than that.

And these people should, of course, be added for purposes of assessing the performance of nursing homes and of Governor Cuomo. It was the Cuomo administration that directed nursing homes to accept residents who had tested positive for the coronavirus.

It’s likely that Cuomo didn’t care about the health of nursing home residents, or at least that he cared more about the interests of the powerful hospital lobby. Alternatively, maybe he’s an idiot. In all events, he shouldn’t be a governor.

Speaking of which, a reader points out that Letitia James, the attorney general who issued the report about the undercounting of nursing home deaths, is a political rival of Cuomo with designs on becoming New York’s governor. This doesn’t undermine her findings. The Cuomo administration concedes the gist of them (but, remarkably, blames the Trump administration for not providing guidance).

However, James’ report does raise interesting possibilities for New York politics. Our reader, a longtime close observer of New York politics, tells me:

[James] is a lefty who got her start in the quasi-Marxist Working Families Party. The report may be her opening salvo in her campaign against Cuomo.

If AOC runs against Schumer as I think she will, then Letitia James is assured of a big lefty turnout. She also figures to get a big Black vote. She could be the Stacey Abrams of the north.

It would be difficult for me to decide whom to root for in a Schumer vs. Ocasio-Cortez race. Cuomo vs. James would pose a similar challenge. Right now, I’d be inclined to pull for the former(?) quasi-Marxist.