New York Governor Andrew Cuomo again attempted to draw the federal government into a growing state-level crisis, blaming the Trump administration for both ordering nursing homes and other adult care facilities to take patients suffering from the novel coronavirus and for obscuring the virus’ origins.
The White House was not having it, directing criticism back at Cuomo and his own state policies that failed to ensure coronavirus patients were entering facilities that were secure and where they would be cordoned off from patients who were COVID-19 negative.
Speaking to MSNBC Tuesday, Cuomo claimed that coronavirus-related nursing home deaths were highest in his state because New York suffered the most coronavirus deaths overall — but also because the Trump administration insisted on claiming that the virus originated in China when it was actually coming from Europe.
“Yes, we had more people die in nursing homes than anywhere else, because we had more people die,” Cuomo contended. “Because the federal government missed the boat and never told us this virus was coming from Europe and not from China.”
“And in January, in February, March, before they did the European travel ban, three million people came from Europe and brought the virus to New York, uh, and the federal government didn’t know, and the federal government didn’t, the CDC, and all of them failed to handle this pandemic and warn this nation,” Cuomo rattled on. “So New York had more cases, and more deaths, and more deaths in nursing homes because that’s who the virus affects, it affects senior citizens, we know that.”
Indeed, New York suffered from a unique strain of the virus that developed in Europe and migrated to the United States through international travelers, but that has little to do with Cuomo’s record of nursing home deaths which, according to the Associated Press, account for nearly 50% of all coronavirus-related deaths in New York — a staggering 4,500 deaths. Other counts put the number as high as 6,250.
Cuomo’s staff also tried to pin the blame on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which suggested COVID-positive patients could be housed in long-term and adult care facilities if those same facilities could properly quarantine those positive with the virus from the general population.
“I know history shows that if you don’t bend to the president’s will, you’ll get fired, but enough with the lies,” a Cuomo staffer said in a statement.
The White House fired back, saying the CDC assumed states ordering overflow patients into adult care facilities would ensure those facilities followed quarantine procedures.
“Governor Cuomo alone is to Blame for refusing to shut down New York and forcing seniors who tested positive for Coronavirus back into his state’s nursing homes. His reckless response did not follow CMS and CDC guidelines devastating the senior population — and no amount of revisionist history can erase Governor Cuomo’s grossly incompetent decision or the fact that President Trump’s bold, aggressive actions saved millions of lives,” a deputy White House press secretary tweeted.
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