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No longer a rockstar, Cuomo now catching rocks over COVID count

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After getting months of rockstar treatment by the media over his coronavirus briefings, New York governor Andrew Cuomo (D) is suddenly trying to catch rocks rather than throw them.

New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R- Schuylerville) has called for a federal investigation of COVID-related nursing home deaths in New York, tweeting:

Today I joined my @NewYorkGOP colleagues in the House to call for a federal investigation of Cuomo’s failed nursing home policies. NOW they admit they unethically changed the way they report nursing home deaths. An INEXCUSABLE tragedy for NY – NEED ANSWERS  

The COVID mortality numbers have come under fire in other states because of over-counting of COVID deaths, as reported previously at American Wire.

“Throughout this public health crisis, I have repeatedly urged New York State to carefully consider our most vulnerable older populations whom often reside in nursing homes and long-term care facilities,” Congresswoman Stefanik told American Wire. “Many of the state’s policies have put not only the residents of these facilities, but also those who care for them at risk of direct exposure to COVID-19.

“I am joining my colleagues to urge HHS and CMS to review the efficacy of Governor Cuomo and New York State’s COVID-19 guidance for these facilities and provide more information and federal oversight,” she continued. “It is imperative that we protect our seniors, who deserve safe, reliable housing and care, from exposure to COVID-19 whenever possible. I will continue to advocate on their behalf throughout this crisis.”

This is the first time it’s been alleged that COVID deaths have been under-counted for political purposes.

Cuomo was already in trouble for his controversial decision to treat COVID-19 patients in nursing homes.

A March 25th executive order by Cuomo forced nursing homes to accept patients with COVID-19 into facilities that housed the most vulnerable populations: those with debilitating diseases and those over the age of 65.

Last week an analysis by the UK’s Guardian newspaper showed half of all COVID fatalities in 14 U.S. states were in nursing homes. New Hampshire reached the high mark with 72 percent of COVID deaths from residents of nursing homes.

New York’s official count, however, lags the national average. The state’s official count shows that only 19 percent of the state’s COVID deaths are nursing home-related. The state claims only 5,300 COVID deaths from nursing homes, out of 28,235 total deaths.

That led some critics to believe that New York is purposefully under-counting nursing home-related deaths by removing the deaths of nursing home residents who died after being moved to a hospital for treatment of COVID-19.  

Previously, Cuomo bragged about the low number of nursing home deaths versus other states:

“Whatever we’re doing has worked, on the facts,” said Cuomo. “Look at how many residents we have in nursing homes, look at the percentage of our deaths in our nursing homes vis-a-vis other states, we’re down by like number 34.”

That was before the state admitted that it started to omit the numbers of people from nursing homes that died at a hospital after contracting the virus in a nursing home or assisted living facility.

Tracking information as to where the COVID-19 virus was transmitted is standard amongst states and, according to one former New York state official, would help better protect nursing homes.  

“It would be a more accurate reflection of the peril at nursing homes,” Betsy McCaughey, a former Republican lieutenant governor of New York and current chairman of the patient advocacy group Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths told the Daily Caller.

“If you look at the more accurate figures reported by other states,” McCaughey said, “it’s reasonable to conclude that half of all deaths in the United States are among nursing home residents and that rather than shutting down the economy they could have focused resources on nursing homes.”

Yes, but that would have deprived the media and the politicians the ability to make themselves the central rock stars in the COVID-19 story.

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