Analysis: Andrew Cuomo's Covid-19 performance may have been less stellar than it seemed
January 28, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
Compression ratio: 72.7%. 2 min read.
If Donald Trump was seen as the public face of the failed government response to the coronavirus pandemic, Andrew Cuomo was seen by some as the opposite -- a politician who understood the myriad challenges created by Covid-19 and moved quickly to address them in the most transparent way possible.
(CNN)If Donald Trump was seen as the public face of the failed government response to the coronavirus pandemic, Andrew Cuomo was seen by some as the opposite -- a politician who understood the myriad challenges created by Covid-19 and moved quickly to address them in the most transparent way possible.
The New York governor's daily coronavirus briefings became must-see TV as Cuomo, in his characteristic "I'm-walking-here" patois, delivered updates on the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the Empire State and provided insight into how he and his administration were working to combat the virus.
Well, it turns out that all the hype obscured a troubling reality: That the New York State Department of Health was drastically undercounting deaths from Covid-19 among nursing home residents.
That's at least according to a new report released by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who (like Cuomo) is a Democrat.
"Preliminary data obtained by [the Office of the Attorney general] suggests that many nursing home residents died from Covid-19 in hospitals after being transferred from their nursing homes, which is not reflected in [Department of Heath's] published total nursing home death data," reads the summary of James' report.
The James report follows earlier reporting suggesting that the count of deaths in New York nursing homes was well below the reality.
"Unlike every other state with major outbreaks, New York only counts residents who died on nursing home property and not those who were transported to hospitals and died there.
Cuomo's action related to nursing homes has been under considerable scrutiny since May, when reports suggested that his Department of Health had blocked nursing homes from rejecting residents based solely on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis.
Cuomo rejected that report, insisting he had followed federal guidance on that front.
"New York followed the President's agency's guidance, so that de-politicizes it," Cuomo said at the time.
"What New York did was follow what the Republican administration said to do. " (Cuomo announced a new policy on May 10, saying a hospital cannot discharge a person who is Covid positive to a nursing home. )
James' report significantly complicates any argument that attacks on Cuomo's handling of Covid-19 in nursing homes are purely partisan.
While there could well be politics at work here -- Cuomo has made clear he plans to run for a fourth term in 2022, and James may be interested in nudging him to let other ambitious Democrats have a chance -- it's not easy for the governor to simply dismiss this latest report.
But here's something we do know: Should James' report be borne out, it would occasion a serious reexamination of Cuomo's performance during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.