The coronavirus pandemic has hit the state of New York especially hard. Almost 33,000 New Yorkers have died from the virus, more total deaths than any other state in the country. And New York ranks as the second-worst state for deaths when adjusted for population. The Empire State alone accounts for one in five coronavirus deaths in the US despite having only around six percent of the nation’s population.
Why did New York fare so poorly?
Well, the coronavirus is far more lethal for older people. How well a state has mitigated the death count closely corresponds with how well they protected elderly, vulnerable populations. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo mandated that nursing homes accept patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 even if it means exposing their residents to the virus.
Yes, you read that right.
It shouldn’t come as a shock, then, that at least 6,600 of the state’s deaths happened in nursing homes. And this is almost certainly an undercount, as the Associated Press says it could be more like 11,000 when you adjust for the odd way in which New York defined its deaths. (The AP described New York’s death toll as “cloaked in secrecy” and even Democratic state legislators have accused the state of trying to cover up the number of nursing home deaths).
Of course this is what would happen if you force institutions housing the elderly to accept carriers of a virus that is highly lethal for older people. Other states such as Florida did the opposite. By barring COVID-19 positive patients from nursing homes, they escaped thousands of deaths.
Worse, Cuomo has refused to allow an independent investigation into his handling of the nursing home debacle despite bipartisan calls for oversight.
From start to finish, Cuomo botched the COVID-19 response woefully. National Review’s Kyle Smith summarized the governor’s mistakes “breathtakingly bad moves” that “in retrospect amounted to catastrophe.”
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) July 14, 2020