Last year, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was taking victory laps, doing book tours, and accepting awards over his supposedly magnificent handling of the Wuhan virus crisis. But this year has seen his house of cards come crashing down in spectacular fashion.
First, there was NY’s Democratic Attorney General Letitia James detailing last month how the number of nursing home deaths in the state could be as much as 50% higher than previously reported (the current number at the time of her report stood at 8,711). The undercounting, James noted in so many words, was due in part to the deceptive way the state changed the way deaths were calculated.
Cuomo’s callous “Who cares where they died?” response to the story only made matters worse.
Here we are two weeks later, and the man dubbed “the Luv Guv” by the New York media is in hot water again thanks to two new explosive reports. The first one, as my colleague Shipwreckedcrew detailed earlier, revolves around the governor’s office admitting during a video conference call to Democratic NY lawmakers that they deliberately withheld data on nursing homes patient deaths in order to head off a potential federal investigation by Trump’s DOJ.
The other report, which was filed by the Associated Press yesterday, was yet another bombshell finding against the Cuomo administration and state health department. As it turns out, the number of COVID-positive patients sent back into the state’s nursing homes was over 9,000 – a number that is 40% higher than what the state originally reported:
More than 9,000 recovering coronavirus patients in New York state were released from hospitals into nursing homes early in the pandemic under a controversial directive that was scrapped amid criticism it accelerated outbreaks, according to new records obtained by The Associated Press.
The new number of 9,056 recovering patients sent to hundreds of nursing homes is more than 40% higher than what the state health department previously released. And it raises new questions as to whether a March 25 directive from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration helped spread sickness and death among residents, a charge the state disputes.
The new figures come as the Cuomo administration has been forced in recent weeks to acknowledge it has been underreporting the overall number of COVID-19 deaths among long-term care residents. It is now nearly 15,000 up from the 8,500 previously disclosed.
While it’s good news that Cuomo is finally getting his just desserts over his disastrous handling of the pandemic in his state, let’s not forget that questions were being raised by conservative media outlets starting in April 2020 about his nursing home policy and the way deaths were being calculated.
In response, most national mainstream media outlets either ignored the story, sugarcoated it, or “reported” it from the perspective that it was a partisan hit job from the right designed to discredit the media’s favorite pandemic governor. Many news networks were effectively spokespeople for Cuomo from start to finish, with CNN, in particular, leading the way in painting a false image of Cuomo as Andrew the Great while using President Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as whipping boys to blame for all of Cuomo’s disastrous mistakes.
So while Cuomo is finally and deservedly feeling the heat over his actions, the media shouldn’t rush to try and cover themselves in glory here. Had they taken the reporting from conservative news outlets seriously at the time, the families who were demanding answers about their loved ones last year might have been able to get those answers way before now.
As it stands, it has taken nearly a year to get them thanks in no small part to those in the mainstream media who chose not to scrutinize a prominent government official – one from the state that was hardest hit – because Orange Man Bad.
It didn’t have to be this way.