Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) repeatedly dodged questions on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) handling of nursing homes throughout the Chinese coronavirus pandemic on Monday, refusing to acknowledge or take questions on the matter.
Schumer appeared in Camillus, New York, on Monday, holding a press conference about securing aid to restaurants.
“We cannot close them,” he told reporters. “They’re needed because they’re so important to our communities. They’re needed because they’re one of the biggest employers in every community in New York whether it’s urban, suburban, like here in Camillus, or rural.”
Schumer, however, was not interested in entertaining questions on the ongoing nursing home scandal rocking the Cuomo administration, twice ignoring a reporter’s inquiries. She attempted to ask the majority leader about the issue while he remained at the podium, but he ignored it. She asked again as he walked to his vehicle, but again, Schumer did not respond.
CNY Central said Schumer’s press team knew the outlet planned to ask the questions.
“Hours later in the Capitol region Senator Schumer hosted a similar press conference and abruptly left without taking questions,” the outlet added.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) sharply rebuked Schumer for refusing to discuss the issue, concluding that he has done “everything in his power to block accountability for his political crony and forced vulnerable Senate Democrats like Raphael Warnock, Mark Kelly, Catherine Cortez Masto, Michael Bennet, and Maggie Hassan to be complicit in the coverup.”
Cuomo has continued to defend himself and his administration amid the reports that they deliberately covered up the true number of coronavirus fatalities in nursing homes and long-term care facilities over concerns of a federal investigation.
The Democrat governor forcefully defended his administration’s March 25 directive, requiring nursing homes to accept recovering coronavirus patients, during Monday’s press conference and concluded that the virus “did not get into the nursing homes by people coming from hospitals.”
“COVID got into the nursing homes by staff walking into the nursing homes when we didn’t even know we had COVID, staff walking into a nursing home even if they were asymptomatic because the national experts all told us you could only spread COVID if you had symptoms and they were wrong,” he said, citing statistics showing that the virus was already present in 98 percent of the facilities in question prior to taking recovering patients.
“COVID may have been brought into a nursing home because visitors brought it in and didn’t know they were contagious because the guidance was, you can only be contagious if you have symptoms,” he continued, placing the blame on unknowing visitors and absolving his administration of any blame.
“If you’re sneezing, if you’re coughing, that turned out to be wrong. That’s how COVID got into the nursing homes,” he said before defending his administration’s reporting on the number of deaths in the facilities.
“To be clear, all the deaths in the nursing homes and in the hospitals were always fully publicly and accurately reported,” he claimed. “The numbers were the numbers, always”:
People did request information beyond the place of death, not just where, not just how many in a nursing home, not just how many in a hospital. They did request different categorizations beyond those counts. “How many people died who were in a nursing home but then went to a hospital? How many people died who were in a hospital but then went back to a nursing home? How do you count presumed COVID deaths?” Everyone was busy. Everybody was here every day. We’re in the midst of managing a pandemic.
“There was a delay in providing the press and the public all that additional information,” he added. “There was a delay.”
Cuomo ultimately refused to apologize for the controversial directive.
“Apologize? Look I have said repeatedly, we made a mistake in creating the void,” Cuomo told reporters. “The void allowed misinformation and conspiracy, and now people are left with the thought of ‘Did my loved one have to die?’ And that is a brutal, brutal question to pose to a person.”