Last month New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo seemed to be cruising to a comfortable reelection in 2022 with favorable poll numbers around 56 percent. He’s slipped a little in the most recent polling, but, given the fact that New York is one of the most liberal states in the nation, he may still be reelected despite the thousands of deaths he caused by his March 2020 order forcing nursing homes to admit COVID patients and his coverup of the effect of that order.
Before that scandal broke, Cuomo had been having a very good pandemic. His widely praised daily televised briefings — compared by some to Franklin Roosevelt’s fireside chats during the Great Depression — earned Cuomo an Emmy award and a lucrative book deal.
By March 2020, we knew that COVID was highly contagious and that the illness had already spread to many states and communities in the United States. We also knew that older people were the most vulnerable and the most likely to die of COVID-19.
Cuomo issued an order on March 25, 2020, to govern the return to nursing homes (NHs) by previously-hospitalized COVID patients and the admission to NHs of new COVID-infected residents based on hospital overcrowding.
Cuomo’s order says, in part, “No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the NH solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. NHs are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.” (Emphasis in the original.)
“Medically stable” is an indefinite term. It generally means a patient’s vital signs — blood pressure, temperature, pulse, and respiration — have not changed in a 24-hour period even though the person may be dying from COVID or other causes.
Cuomo’s order reportedly resulted in more than 6,000 COVID patients being moved into nursing homes. The necessary and foreseeable consequence of Cuomo’s order was to expose other nursing home residents, as well as their caregivers, to the disease.
Then came the deaths of Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean’s in-laws in New York nursing homes. Both deaths occurred in long-term care facilities, and both occurred because they apparently contracted COVID from COVID-infected patients moved into the nursing homes under Cuomo’s order.
The media ignored Dean and incessantly praised Cuomo’s televised COVID press conferences.
In November, Cuomo was given an Emmy award for his COVID pressers. The CEO of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences said, “The Governor’s 111 daily briefings worked so well because he effectively created television shows, with characters, plot lines, and stories of success and failure.” He added, “People around the world tuned in to find out what was going on, and New York tough became a symbol of the determination to fight back.”
At one point, Cuomo said, “Who cares [if they] died in the hospital, died in a nursing home? They died.” It was as cynically callous a statement as Hillary Clinton made on the deaths in the Benghazi terrorist attack when she told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in answer to a question about what caused the attack, “At this point, what difference does it make?”
Flash forward to the report by the New York Post of a leaked conversation between Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, and state Democratic lawmakers that she and Cuomo deliberately covered up the extent and number of deaths in nursing homes from COVID. She attributed the action to Trump who she said had directed the Justice Department to demand the real numbers, at which point, she said, “We froze,” because they were afraid the real numbers would be used against them politically.
Because they “froze,” Cuomo and DeRosa blocked any disclosure of the truth about COVID deaths in nursing homes to both the state legislators and the Justice Department. Obstruction of justice, anyone?
The number of deaths were about double those reported by the Cuomo administration. They reportedly numbered 12,749 as of January 14, 2021.
DeRosa’s admission has resulted in calls for Cuomo’s impeachment, his resignation, and thorough investigations by the Justice Department and Congress. His impeachment is comprehensively justified by his order and its deadly effect.
And there’s more. A lot more.
Cuomo reportedly raked in more than $2 million in donations from the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA), its executives and lobbying firms that may have been connected to his media-hyped “success” in dealing with the COVID pandemic. But it clearly was connected to Cuomo’s budget legislation, which gave legal immunity to hospitals’ and nursing homes’ workers and top officials whose decisions may have resulted in the deaths of patients and residents. Several states have since adopted Cuomo’s legislation, which was reportedly drafted by GNYHA.
A report by New York Attorney General Letitia James said, “The immunity laws could be wrongly used to protect any individual or entity from liability, even if those decisions were not made in good faith or motivated by financial incentives.”
At one point, President Biden said Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic was our “gold standard.” It was as much of a lie as the Big Lie Biden said during a CNN “town hall” meeting last week. Biden told CNN we didn’t have the COVID vaccine when he was inaugurated despite the facts that the vaccines were developed in record time only because of Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed,” and that the first vaccinations occurred a month before Biden was inaugurated.
It’s too much to hope for that the New York General Assembly will impeach Cuomo or that he will resign. It’s also too much to expect that Biden’s Justice Department or our Democrat-dominated Congress will investigate and condemn Cuomo’s March 2020 order.
Under New York State’s Penal Code, Section 125.10, a person is guilty of negligent homicide when his conduct, beyond that which a reasonable person would do, causes the death of a human being by being careless, reckless, or inattentive. Cuomo’s conduct in issuing his March order, and his failure to revoke it when the effects were apparent, fits that bill. His coverup was a conspiracy to conceal that crime. He should be indicted on the more than 12,000 counts of negligent homicide, but he won’t be.
In 1969, Teddy Kennedy — probably through his drunkenness and reckless driving — caused the death of Mary Jo Kopechne when he drove off a bridge to Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts. Kennedy should have been prosecuted for negligent homicide, but only pled guilty to leaving the scene of an accident.
Cuomo will probably get away with the effects of his March 2020 order and coverup in much the same way that Teddy got away with Kopechne’s death. Kennedy apologized. Cuomo refuses to do even that.