News

Health Care

NY Health Department Asserts Cuomo Order ‘Could Not Be the Driver’ of Nursing-Home Deaths in the State

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks in front of stacks of medical protective supplies during a news conference at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, which will be partially converted into a temporary hospital during the coronavirus outbreak, March 24, 2020. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

The New York State Department of Health has concluded that an executive order requiring nursing homes to readmit coronavirus patients, issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo, was not the driving factor behind coronavirus deaths in the state’s nursing homes.

On March 25, Cuomo ordered nursing homes and long-term care facilities to readmit patients who had been hospitalized with coronavirus, even if the patients were not fully recovered. The order has been criticized for possibly leading to additional deaths in nursing homes, which have appeared as a major incubating ground for coronavirus.

New York health commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker defended the state’s policy at a press conference on Monday, saying that “admission policies were not a significant factor in nursing home fatalities.” State assemblyman Ron Kim, a Democrat representing Queens, slammed the report as a “cover-up.”

“This is a conflict of interest for the health department to investigate its own poor decisions,” Kim told the New York Post. “For them to say that the decision of sending COVID-19 patients from hospitals into nursing did not contribute to increasing infections is ludicrous.”

According to the new Department of Health report, the number of infections in nursing homes was driven by visits from already-infected staff or family members. Additionally, the report states that of 310 unique nursing homes that readmitted coronavirus patients from March 25 to May 8, 252 “already had a suspected or confirmed COVID-positive resident, COVID-related confirmed or presumed fatality, or worker infected prior to admission of a single COVID-positive patient — meaning the admission of a COVID patient did not introduce COVID into the nursing home as it was already present.”

New York’s reported coronavirus fatality count from nursing homes currently stands at around 6,500. However, the state only classifies coronavirus deaths as occurring in nursing homes if the patient passes away while physically present at a nursing home. If a nursing-home resident dies at a hospital after having been transferred out, the death is not counted as having come from a long-term care facility.

A June 30 report from the Empire Center, a think tank based in Albany, shows that the vacancy rate at nursing homes in New York soared during the coronavirus pandemic. While not all of these vacancies can be attributed to coronavirus deaths, author Bill Hammond, the center’s senior fellow for health policy, estimates that over 10,000 nursing home residents have died as a result of coronavirus.

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

Most Popular

Elections

Kamala Harris’s Anti-Catholic Bigotry

Someone might want to remind Joe Biden, who’s just picked progressive California senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, that his vice-president-to-be believes Catholics are unfit to serve in our nation’s courts. (Biden, of course, as I considered at length on the homepage today, has spent his entire ... Read More
Elections

Kamala Harris’s Anti-Catholic Bigotry

Someone might want to remind Joe Biden, who’s just picked progressive California senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, that his vice-president-to-be believes Catholics are unfit to serve in our nation’s courts. (Biden, of course, as I considered at length on the homepage today, has spent his entire ... Read More
Elections

Kamala Harris, Imaginary Centrist

By the end of the 2020 campaign, president-in-waiting Kamala Harris will have been transformed into the greatest exemplar of judicious centrism and political level-headedness in American history. “Kamala Harris comes from the middle-of-the-road, moderate wing of the Democratic Party” claims George ... Read More
Elections

Kamala Harris, Imaginary Centrist

By the end of the 2020 campaign, president-in-waiting Kamala Harris will have been transformed into the greatest exemplar of judicious centrism and political level-headedness in American history. “Kamala Harris comes from the middle-of-the-road, moderate wing of the Democratic Party” claims George ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Donziger Disbarred

Steven Donziger, the attorney with connections to the Obama and Cuomo administrations who was at the center of a massive effort to extort billions of dollars out of Chevron, has been disbarred for “corruption of a court expert and ghostwriting his report, obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and judicial ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Donziger Disbarred

Steven Donziger, the attorney with connections to the Obama and Cuomo administrations who was at the center of a massive effort to extort billions of dollars out of Chevron, has been disbarred for “corruption of a court expert and ghostwriting his report, obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and judicial ... Read More