New York senators demand Gov. Cuomo be investigated for mishandling of group homes during pandemic

As the mainstream media and the nation focuses on the multiple allegations of sexual harassment facing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), his first scandal — which many argue is of much greater consequence — could be rising to the surface once again.

That’s because according to the Washington Examiner, four New York state senators have called on the Investigations and Government Operations Committee to launch an investigation into Cuomo’s policies that placed COVID-19 patients in group homes with those who weren’t sick, which resulted in hundreds of deaths. 

What’s going on?

In the early days of the pandemic, even though Cuomo had options like the enormous military hospital ship and a retrofitted arena to place infected patients in, he instead chose to place many of those sick people back into group homes and other nursing facilities.

That decision ultimately led to thousands of deaths — many of which probably could have been easily prevented if the sick people were mixed with the healthy, but vulnerable, populations at such facilities.

According to data from the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities — the group overseeing New York group homes — Cuomo’s orders that placed COVID-19 positive patients into the state’s 7,000 group homes resulted in 10,311 workers and 6,382 disabled residents contracting the deadly virus.

“Individuals residing in OPWDD group homes were three times more likely to contract COVID-19 and three times more likely to die from it compared to the general population of New York,” wrote Sen. Anthony Palumbo, who sits on the state’s Investigations and Government Operations Committee.

“A report also asserts that group homes received inadequate COVID-19 guidance from OPWDD, leading to logistical challenges and almost certainly allowing COVD positive residents and staff to return to group homes,” Palumbo added.

From bad to worse

We’ve all heard about the nursing home, COVID-19 death scandal that Cuomo is also under fire for allowing to happen, but the group home situation went largely unreported until now.

For those working in one of the thousands of group homes around the state, conditions were reportedly much worse than the state’s nursing homes, as staff were overworked, underpaid and not provided with the same priority as nursing homes as far as access to simple things like proper protective gear.

Republican New York state Sen. Mike Martucci, who sits on the state’s Mental Health and Disabilities Committee and co-signed Palumbo’s letter demanding an investigation, made clear that Cuomo is the source of the problems that plagued New York group homes.

“It’s time for the Legislature to step up and hold him accountable for all of his misdeeds, but in particular his order that exposed our developmentally and intellectually disabled citizens to this deadly virus,” Martucci said.

Only time will tell if Cuomo is ever truly held accountable for the massive number of deaths as a result of his poor decisions or his multiple counts of sexual harassment, but it’s not a stretch to presume at this point that his days as the governor of New York are likely numbered.

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