New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) issued a directive on March 25 requiring nursing facilities to accept patients recovering from the coronavirus. That order turned out to be a death warrant for thousands of New York state's most vulnerable people. All told, more than 5,400 New Yorkers have died in nursing facilities from the coronavirus, forcing Cuomo to reverse his policy last week.
To make matters worse, New York officials have also admitted to intentionally miscounting nursing home deaths by only counting residents who died from COVID-19 in the facility itself — not residents who died after being transferred to a hospital for serious treatment.
But the Democratic governor is not interested in accountability.
Cuomo was confronted on Sunday by a reporter who asked for his response to families demanding accountability and justice.
"Governor, what would you say to families who have suffered losses inside nursing homes?" the reporter asked. "They're looking for accountability, and they'd like to see justice."
Cuomo responded by explaining that no one would face consequences for the disastrous policy because vulnerable people were going to die, anyway.
The comment is this. And I have those conversations all day long with people who have lost people, right? We lost 139 people yesterday in hospitals. Who is accountable for those 139 deaths? Well, how do we get justice for those families who had 139 deaths? What is justice? Who can we prosecute for those deaths? Nobody. Nobody. Mother nature. God. Where did this virus come from? People are going to die by this virus. That is the truth. Best hospital system on the globe, I believe we have. Best doctors, best nurses who have responded like heroes, every medication, ventilators, the health system wants for nothing. We worked it out so we always had available beds. Nobody was deprived of a bed or medical coverage in any way.
And still people died. Still, people died. Older people, vulnerable people are going to die from this virus. That is going to happen despite whatever you do. Because with all our progress as a society, we can't keep everyone alive. Despite what everything you do and older people are more vulnerable. And that is a fact. And that is not going to change.
But not everyone wants the governor to get off so easy.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) has called for a federal investigation into Cuomo's policy, in addition to the intentional undercounting of nursing home deaths.
"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," Stefanik said.
Now, even New York Democrats are joining the call for an independent investigation, Newsday reported.
"The attorney general should bring in outside counsel," state Rep. Richard Gottfried (D) said last week.
"The governor's flip-flopping policies on nursing homes must be held accountable," state Rep. Ron Kim (D) said.
"We live in a democracy where no one person should raise their hands and say, 'we did our best' and diminish any calls for independent oversight hearings after more than 5,000 vulnerable seniors died," Kim added.
Cuomo says "nobody" should be prosecuted in N.Y. for deaths caused by coronavirus www.youtube.com