New York's official count of nursing home residents who died after Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) forced such facilities to accept coronavirus-positive patients "could actually be a significant undercount," the Associated Press reported.
According to the AP, New York only counts nursing home residents who died on the property in their tally of nursing home fatalities, meaning residents who were transported to a hospital before succumbing to the virus are not being counted.
For example, Bronx-based Riverdale Nursing Home only had four resident deaths recorded, according to official state data. In reality, the nursing home lost a total of 21 residents to COVID-19, most of whom were transported out of the facility prior to passing away.
The revelation likely adds thousands of nursing home deaths to New York's already bloated count, which officially stands at more than 6,600.
From the AP:
How big a difference could it make? Since May, federal regulators have required nursing homes to submit data on coronavirus deaths each week, whether or not residents died in the facility or at a hospital. Because the requirement came after the height of New York's outbreak, the available data is relatively small. According to the federal data, roughly a fifth of the state's homes reported resident deaths from early June to mid July — a tally of 323 dead, 65 percent higher than the state's count of 195 during that time period.
Even if half that undercount had held true from the start of the pandemic, that would translate into thousands more nursing home resident deaths than the state has acknowledged.
Additionally, the AP found that more than 21,000 nursing home beds in New York currently lie empty, which is 13,000 more than officials had predicted — another indicator that New York officials are significantly undercounting their nursing home fatalities.
The inconsistencies are leading to accusations of data manipulation to manufacture the illusion that New York is handling the COVID-19 crisis better than other states.
In fact, New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker has refused to provide state lawmakers with the number of nursing home resident who died off property, the AP reported, all under the guise of accuracy.
Despite having the highest nursing home and overall COVID-19 death count in the United States, Cuomo continues to patronize other states for their COVID-19 response while claiming victory with his own.
"Just on the top line we have, we are number 35th in the nation in percentage of deaths in the nursing homes. Go talk to 34 other states. First, go talk to the Republican states now — Florida, Texas, Arizona — ask them what is happening in nursing homes. It's all politics," Cuomo told the New York Post last month.
On Monday, Cuomo once again refused an investigation into his state's handling of nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing that scrutiny into his pandemic response is all "political," Fox News reported.
But, as TheBlaze reported, Cuomo issued a directive on March 25 forcing nursing homes in New York to accept COVID-positive patients. He didn't rescind the order until May 10 — but it was already too late.