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Chris and Andrew Cuomo joke around on air, don't address nursing home COVID-19 deaths caused by governor's policy


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Image source: CNN video screenshot

The latest comical CNN interview between host Chris Cuomo and his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), becomes less humorous when one considers the level of responsibility the governor bears for the thousands of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes.

During the Wednesday night interview, Chris Cuomo spent several minutes making fun of Andrew's nose after the governor took a nasal swab COVID-19 test during a press briefing. He even brought out some props.

"Is it true that this was the swab the nurse was actually using on you, and that it first went into your nose and disappeared so that, in scale, this was the actual swab that was being used to fit up that double-barrel shotgun that you have mounted on the front of your pretty face?" Chris asked his brother, while holding up some oversized cotton swabs for the camera.

Gov. Cuomo's face became red as he failed to suppress his laughter.

"See, I was going to be nice and sweet and cooperative," Andrew Cuomo said.

In another context, the segment may have been funny or charming. But, many felt it to be inappropriate for valuable national airtime (the interview was nearly a half hour) with the governor of New York to be used for brotherly jokes while more information comes out about the impact of a state policy that sent people infected with COVID-19 back into nursing homes to infect other at-risk people. The nursing home deaths were not addressed in the interview.

On March 25, Andrew Cuomo ordered nursing homes and long-term care facilities to admit and readmit coronavirus patients, even though many of those facilities were not equipped to treat these patients or to ensure no one else got infected. That order was finally reversed on May 11, after thousands of nursing home deaths.

About 20% of all COVID-19 deaths in New York came from nursing homes. For about a month after the order was issued, New York was undercounting COVID-19 deaths from nursing homes by not counting the deaths of people who died of the virus after being transferred to the hospital. More than 5,800 coronavirus deaths have occurred in New York's long-term care facilities.

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