The government of the State of New York still has more explaining to do and heads that should roll regarding the decision to order that nursing homes accept patients with COVID-19 last year, according one of the state’s leading think tanks.
The state government still hasn’t released data crucial to gauging the real magnitude of the scandal. It’s obvious, though, that the governor’s office and other officials are engaged in a coverup, according to the Empire Center for Public Policy’s health policy expert Bill Hammond. All of those responsible should resign, including the state’s health commissioner Howard Zucker, Hammond said.
The scandal revolves around an order issued by Zucker on March 25, 2020, which stipulated that “no resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the NH [nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19.”
The order went as far as prohibiting staff from testing “medically stable” hospitalized clients for COVID-19 before admission.
Under the policy, more than 9,000 COVID-19 positive patients were transferred to long-term care facilities, contributing to the nearly 16,000 deaths attributed to COVID in such facilities, according to a statistical analysis by the think tank. Exactly how much the policy contributed to the deaths is “very difficult to perfectly quantify,” according to Hammond, who is a senior research fellow at the Empire Center.
The difficulty is compounded by the state’s delaying the publication of a large amount of data that it has collected on the issue. A coverup and dishonesty regarding the issue has been the most blatant part of the scandal, he claimed.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced his resignation, on its face value due to a separate issue of inappropriate behavior toward women. But others involved in the coverup are still holding onto their chairs, Hammond pointed out.
He called on the incoming Gov. Kathy Hochul to “fire the falsifiers,” in a recent op-ed in the New York Daily News.
By Petr Svab