Nolte: Retracting My Claim that Andrew Cuomo Is Not Responsible for Coronavirus Deaths

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a press conference at his Midtown Manhattan office, September 14, 2018 in New York City. Cuomo discussed his primary night election victory as well as a range of other topics. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Drew Angerer/Getty

Based on new facts, I have no choice but to officially retract my earlier statement that Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) should not be held responsible for any coronavirus deaths.

Unfortunately, Cuomo is directly responsible for a number of coronavirus deaths. Possibly thousands.

My earlier assumption was based on a sound premise: there’s nothing we can do about plagues. Like floods, tornadoes, and other natural disasters, this is the price we pay to live in the natural world. To blame a politician, or anyone, for a single death caused by a virus is obscene.

Further, in the event of a plague, all we can expect from our government is to avoid triage. The government’s responsibility is to save as many lives as possible, and our government — at the local, state, and federal levels — met this responsibility admirably. Incredibly, no one in this country died due to a lack of medical care or lack of a ventilator. Everyone who could be saved was saved. What more can any reasonable person ask?

Well, in the case of Andrew Cuomo, we could have asked that he not pour plague into New York’s nursing homes and assisted living centers, that he not mandate these facilities accept discharged hospital patients recovering from, and, therefore, still infectious with the coronavirus.

Weeks before — literally, weeks before — the coronavirus hit New York, we knew the virus was a unique threat to the elderly. In fact, a full six weeks before Cuomo shut down New York on March 20, warnings were being posted to take special care to protect nursing homes. So Cuomo had to have known the coronavirus ravaged the elderly, not just disproportionately, but disproportionately by incredibly high and, therefore, impossible-to-ignore numbers.

But Cuomo not only ignored those numbers; he went so far as to require — require — that coronavirus patients who were recovered enough to be discharged from a hospital, but still infectious, be accepted into nursing homes.

According to NBC News, Cuomo authorized a “state mandate requiring nursing homes to accept those recovering from COVID-19, even if they still might be contagious.” The predictable results were catastrophic, a mini pandemic within facilities that are nothing close to equipped to handle a pandemic, which has so far resulted in 5,300 mostly unnecessary deaths.

How was this devastating outcome not predictable?

Well, of course, it was predictable, which is why one of the first things Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) did — we’re talking as early as March 15 — was to prohibit the return of the coronavirus hospital patients to nursing homes until they were no longer infectious.

The difference in the results thus far is heartbreaking. Florida lost only 3.5 nursing home residents per 100,000, while New York lost a whopping 27 per 100,000.

And that is an apples-to-apples comparison that has nothing to do with New York’s population density or mass transit. A nursing home is a nursing home.

If that’s not heartbreaking enough, Cuomo signed his mandate ordering nursing homes to accept those still infectious on March 25. And to prove he knew he made a terrible error, Cuomo eventually rescinded it, but not until May 9. So for six deadly weeks, Cuomo’s order ensured plague was poured into facilities ill-equipped to handle such a thing, facilities full of the very human beings the virus was most likely to kill.

For a few seconds on Wednesday, America’s useless and corrupt media, America’s fawning Cuomosexuals, actually stopped fawning to ask the governor about his deadly nursing home policy. To defend his indefensible directive, Cuomo made three absurd and easily debunked excuses. Here’s the first:

Is the best use of a hospital bed to have somebody sit there for two weeks in a hospital bed when they don’t need the hospital bed … and you need that hospital bed for somebody who may die without it?

The premise of Cuomo’s answer is simply not true. While there’s no question New York hospitals were hit hard, they were inundated, not overwhelmed. There was always bed space.

But riddle me this… How is pouring plague into nursing homes supposed to result in the need for fewer hospital beds? Good heavens, placing infectious patients among the very population most likely to require hospital care is not freeing up beds; it is a deliberate act that ensures more hospital beds will be needed.

Furthermore, let’s not forget that the USNS Comfort and its 1,000 beds arrived in New York just five days after Cuomo signed his nursing home decree. There was nothing stopping Cuomo from placing nursing home patients there; the Navy ship remained almost entirely empty the entire time it was docked in New York Harbor.

Another facility that remained almost entirely empty was the field hospital built at New York’s Javits Convention Center, a 1,000-room facility that opened less than two weeks after Cuomo signed his deadly nursing home decree. The center treated fewer than 1,100 patients over its five-week lifespan, which means its 1,000 beds remained “largely empty ” and had plenty of room to accept nursing home patients.

Cuomo’s second excuse, predictably, has been to blame President Trump:

Why did the state do that with COVID patients in nursing homes? It’s because the state followed President Trump’s CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidance.

This, of course, is gibberish. Cuomo wasn’t forced to do anything any more than DeSantis was. The difference is that DeSantis made the correct decision, while Cuomo made one deadly decision after another. Plus, Cuomo reversed his deadly decree without the CDC ever altering its guidelines.

But let’s pretend Cuomo’s hands were tied. What we have here is a governor more than willing to defy the federal government when it comes to protecting illegal aliens but not the elderly. What we have here is a governor willing to defy the federal government to protect tax breaks for the rich but not the elderly.

Cuomo’s final excuse was to blame — unbelievably — the nursing homes:

For a COVID patient, a nursing home must say “I can quarantine, I can isolate, I have the right staff, I have the right PPE,” or else that nursing home should not take that patient … So any nursing home could just say, “I can’t handle a COVID person in my facility.”

This is simply not true.

Cuomo’s mandate not only required that nursing homes accept coronavirus patients returning from hospitalization — incredibly, Cuomo outlawed the right of the nursing home to even ask if the patient tested positive for the virus. How can you request to not accept a patient if you don’t know his status?

What’s more, uncovered emails prove that New York state denied requests from nursing homes to send “suspected covid patients” to the empty Javits Center facility.

“We don’t have the ability to cohort right now based on staffing and we really want to protect our other patients,” Cobble Hill Health Center CEO Donny Tuchman wrote to the state Health Department. The request was denied, even though only 134 of the Javits Center’s 1,000 beds were in use; only 62 of the 1,000 beds aboard the USNS Comfort were in use.

Sadly, the New York Post reports that “Cobble Hill has led all state nursing homes in the number of residents killed by the coronavirus[.]”

Cuomo is not the only governor who poured death into nursing homes. In New Jersey, where 51 out of every 100,000 nursing home resident has died of the coronavirus, the state’s Democrat governor signed an order similar to Cuomo’s that outlawed nursing homes refusing an infectious patient. Like New York, New Jersey also barred nursing homes from asking that patients be tested before accepting them.

The bottom line is that thousands and thousands of people died unnecessarily because of Andrew Cuomo’s fatal mismanagement and equally fatal error of judgment. This is all on him, hence my retraction. 

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.

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