New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, hasn’t received enough criticism for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
His March 25 mandate that nursing homes accept COVID-positive patients on short notice whether they were equipped to isolate and care for them or not is arguably one of the most disastrous policies anyone in the U.S. enacted during the pandemic. To avoid necessary scrutiny over the mandate, the Cuomo administration undercounted the deaths by including thousands of nursing home patient deaths with hospital deaths, since the patients were transferred to hospitals prior to their death.
Now the real numbers have been released (as much as you can trust the Cuomo administration after it lied about the number of nursing home deaths), and they reveal that nearly 13,000 people died in New York nursing homes due to COVID-19. The Empire Center, a non-partisan think tank, reported that number accounts for 14% of New York’s “pre-pandemic nursing home population.”
The numbers are shocking, but the Center included more information about the other 49 states and Washington, D.C., reporting that the national average of nursing home deaths was 12% of the pre-pandemic nursing home population. This means New York was above average in nursing home deaths (other populous states, like California and Florida, were below average).
The numbers are stark, but New York wasn’t even the worst state as far as deaths as a percentage of 2019 resident population. Massachusetts was the worst state in that regard, losing about 22% of their pre-pandemic nursing home population.
New York is actually the 13th worst, behind Massachusetts, Connecticut, Idaho, Arizona, Oregon, Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island, D.C., Minnesota, North Dakota, and Georgia.
More from the Empire Center:
The Cuomo administration had used the smaller, partial death toll to argue that New York’s nursing homes were better protected than most.
That claim was revealed as misleading on Thursday, when Health Commissioner Howard Zucker issued a revised nursing home death count of 12,743, which was 50 percent higher than the state had previously acknowledged.
Six days after Zucker’s announcement, a state Supreme Court judge ordered the Health Department to promptly comply with a Freedom of Information request by the Empire Center, which sought nursing home mortality data maintained by the Health Department. Unless it appeals the ruling, the department is due to release the records within five business days.
Zucker’s revised count was a small preview of the fuller picture that data will provide. For the first time, it included some 4,000 nursing home residents who had died after being transferred to hospitals, a group the Health Department had excluded from its reporting – a practice used by no other state.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, Cuomo stalled for months on releasing the numbers requested by the Empire Center.
While New York’s percentage of nursing home deaths ranks 13th in the U.S., it is ranked number one for total number of nursing home deaths, with 2,600 more deaths than California.