Former New York governor slams Cuomo for failing to protect nursing home residents amid pandemic

Hearing Democrats and the media talk, you’d think New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has done an exceptional job leading his state through the worst of the coronavirus crisis — but that may not be the whole story.

Cuomo is now taking flak from one of his predecessors, former New York Gov. George Pataki (R), for “the job that he is not doing when it comes to nursing homes” in the Empire State. The former governor slammed Cuomo’s policies on assisted living facilities as “incomprehensible” and perhaps even worthy of investigation, Fox News reported Saturday.

Missing the mark

Almost from the start of the coronavirus pandemic — even before it reached the shores of the United States — it was commonly understood that the highly transmissible disease posed the greatest risk to the elderly and those with already weak immune systems.

Yet, despite that known risk, nursing home residents who tested positive for COVID-19 were not given the opportunity to isolate themselves and instead remained housed in their respective facilities, even as the USS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship called to help New York as it endured the worst of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S., sat mostly empty.

It is thought by some that this policy actually ended up making more seniors sick with the disease. Fox noted that, as of Thursday, the New York Department of Health had reported outbreaks of five or more infected residents in at least 88 separate nursing homes in the state.

A total of at least 1,084 nursing home residents have died from the viral contagion in New York, Fox reported.

“An incomprehensible policy”

In an appearance on Fox News on Friday with The Story host Martha MacCallum, former Gov. Pataki said the number of nursing home residents who have died from COVID-19 in New York is a “disgrace” and called out Gov. Cuomo for the policy that sent infected patients back to their facilities instead of utilizing hundreds of open hospital beds that had been specifically designated for coronavirus patients.

“I know Andrew Cuomo is one of the most popular politicians in America today. He has his briefings that are calm and informative,” Pataki told MacCallum, according to Fox. “But when you look at the job that he is not doing when it comes to nursing homes, those beds should have been used to put the most vulnerable in those facilities.

“What happened in New York, in my mind, is a disgrace,” he said. Separately, Pataki tweeted on Friday of the need for an “investigation” into what happened regarding the “failed” policies that he said “no other state” should be similarly “forced to endure.”

“New York’s policies with nursing homes [are] incomprehensible… The Comfort had hundreds of beds waiting to take coroanvirus-positive patients,” Pataki told MacCallum.

He went on: “In the nursing homes, where the weakest of the aged [and] the most vulnerable were put together, [they] were required to take corona[virus] positive patients. It is an incomprehensible policy, and I think someone should look into it.”

Indeed, perhaps an investigation is in order here. What else has Cuomo missed the mark on?

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