New York, particularly downstate New York, isn’t just the hot-spot of the coronavirus pandemic of the United States. Nowhere else in the world did as poorly, thanks to Governor Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. The Wall Street Journal conducted an extensive investigation into the failures of New York’s coronavirus response that is worth reading, but the deadly nursing home policy, and the cover-up that followed, is perhaps the most notable failure, contributing greatly to the state’s poor performance.
On March 25, Cuomo ordered nursing homes to accept patients regardless of their coronavirus status. Even then it was well-known that the elderly were more vulnerable to the virus. Despite the folly of this policy, Cuomo defended it. Nursing homes “don’t have a right to object. That is the rule and that is the regulation and they have to comply with that,” Cuomo said in April. He finally rescinded the order on May 11, but the damage had been done. Cuomo enabled a massive outbreak in New York nursing homes and long-term care facilities (NH/LTC) and has been trying to cover up his mistakes ever since with the help of the New York Department of Health.
Cuomo undercounted nursing home deaths
The first step in the cover-up was to not count the deaths of nursing home residents who died in hospitals in their tallies of nursing home resident deaths. New York was the only state to do this, and, of course, it resulted in a massive undercounting of nursing home deaths.
The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) admitted a couple of months ago that they quietly changed their reporting policy around late April/early May so that nursing home and long-term care patients who died from COVID-19 in a hospital were not included as nursing home COVID-19 fatalities.
“Deaths of nursing home and adult care facility residents that occurred at hospitals is accounted for in the overall fatality data on our COVID-19 tracker,” explained NYSDOH spokeswoman Jill Montag.
So, what’s the real number of NH/LTC deaths from COVID-19 in New York? The New York Post investigated the number of deaths at just four nursing homes from March through early May, and found the following discrepancies:
- Cold Spring Hills Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation, Woodbury, LI: 115 actual deaths, 23 state tally (Actual deaths 5x higher than official state tally)
- Cypress Gardens Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation, Flushing: 76 actual deaths, 7 state tally (Actual deaths 10.85x higher than official state tally)
- Seagate Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, Coney Island: 74 actual deaths, 25 state tally (Actual deaths 2.96x higher than official state tally)
- Townhouse Center for Rehabilitation & Nursing, Uniondale, LI: 41 actual deaths, 16 state tally (Actual deaths 2.56x higher than official state tally)
Based on these four facilities, the actual COVID-19 deaths are anywhere from 2.5 times to nearly 11 times higher than New York’s official tally.