Two Months Later, Andrew Cuomo Says Protecting Nursing Homes ‘Top Priority’

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Facebook

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) told reporters Monday morning in Albany that the state was now making nursing homes its “top priority” — nearly two months after a directive requiring them to take in coronavirus patients.

The New York Times has reported that more than one-third of all coronavirus deaths in the U.S. have occurred at nursing homes. In some states, more than half of coronavirus fatalities have occurred at nursing home facilities.

That is partly because the elderly are more vulnerable to the disease. However, it is also partly because governors in several states — notably, New York — required nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients referred to them.

As Michael Goodwin pointed out on Saturday in the New York Post: “The 5,500 nursing-home deaths in New York are more than the total deaths in all other states except New Jersey.” Florida, by contrast, had a relatively low number of nursing home deaths despite having a large elderly population. There, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) allowed nursing homes to reject coronavirus patients.

Not so in New York, where Gov. Cuomo issued a directive on March 25 prohibiting nursing homes from turning away coronavirus patients or even testing new arrivals for the potentially deadly virus.

Last Sunday, Cuomo changed his policy to prevent coronavirus patients from being discharged to nursing homes.

And on Monday, Cuomo declared: ‘We now have a top priority, which we had from day one, which is our nursing homes.”

He noted that nursing homes housed “the most vulnerable population in these most vulnerable place — senior citizens in a congregate facility.” He noted that nursing home residents in Washington State had been among the earliest victims of the coronavirus. Somehow, that did not factor into his decision-making in March.

Cuomo said that nursing home staff would be required to be tested twice per week, both to protect them and provide early warnings of outbreaks. He called it the “most aggressive standard in the nation.”

“We drew bad cards in this hand,” he added, referring to coronavirus in general. New York did have the highest number of cases. Not because we did anything wrong, but because the virus fooled everyone.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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