Report: Cuomo facing scrutiny over COVID-19 death toll in New York nursing homes

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) may be receiving a great deal of praise for his management of the COVID-19 crisis, but there is one area in which he is also being hit with significant criticism.

According to a new report from the Associated Press, Cuomo is facing scrutiny over his handling of nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic, with critics saying that his administration bears responsibility for the high number of deaths seen in such facilities within his state.

Nursing home death toll shocks New York

Something that has been known ever since the start of the coronavirus outbreak is that the illness is especially devastating for the elderly. This fact was put on tragic display in nursing homes across the country, and those in New York have been no exception.

Over the course of the pandemic, the AP reports that New York has seen roughly 5,300 nursing home deaths attributed to COVID-19. That represents nearly 20% of America’s total fatality rate in nursing homes and other long-term care centers, a number which now stands at over 26,000.

Unlike other segments of the population that seem to have reached the downward slope on the infection curve, the nursing home problem is only getting worse in New York, “increasing by an average of 20 to 25 deaths a day for the past few weeks,” the AP report stated.

Cuomo to blame?

According to a growing number of nursing home and elder care advocates, Cuomo and his policies are largely to blame for this tragic trend.

As the AP reports, a primary area of concern according to critics is the fact that New York waited two weeks after the initial nursing home outbreaks occurred to begin reporting the true number of fatalities in each facility. Further, the state still isn’t reporting the known number of infections at such sites.

Once these deaths began to be reported, there were numerous sizable outbreaks underway, most of which were unknown even to family members of those affected, according to the report.

Others are taking issue with a state mandate requiring that nursing homes to accept individuals known to have tested positive for COVID-19, according to The New York Times.

Still others have sounded the alarm over what they see as the state’s failure to provide nursing homes with sufficient personal protective equipment. Cuomo took fire on this issue when he recently claimed that supplying such equipment was “not [the state’s] job,” citing the fact that nursing homes are private entities and therefore not under his administration’s purview.

Governor responds

Cuomo has recently responded to his critics, saying, “We’ve tried everything to keep it out of a nursing home, but it’s virtually impossible… Now is not the best time to put your mother in a nursing home. That is a fact,” he added callously.

But there is no sign that Cuomo is going to be let off the hook with regard to these administrative failures anytime soon — and justifiably so.

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