New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has faced criticism in recent weeks for a policy mandating that the state’s nursing homes and assisted-living facilities accept patients infected with the coronavirus.
He has since reversed that policy, which has been linked to a tragic spike in virus-related deaths, but that is not good enough for one state assemblywoman calling for an independent federal investigation into the matter, as Fox News reports.
“We need to have an independent investigation”
In late March, Cuomo issued a directive prohibiting nursing homes from rejecting patients based on a coronavirus infection and even prevented staff from testing for the virus prior to being admitted.
More than a month later — and after roughly 5,300 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in such facilities — the governor reversed the controversial policy.
Republican state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis thinks the entire situation needs to be investigated by an independent panel, as she explained to Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson on Tuesday.
“On March 24th, Gov. Cuomo said, ‘My mother is not expendable, your mother is not expendable,'” Malliotakis said, according to Fox. “And yet the very next day he signed an executive order mandating nursing homes — where our most vulnerable mothers and our most vulnerable fathers reside — to accept COVID-positive patients.”
Citing the thousands of residents and patients in these facilities who have died from the virus, she said they “account for 25% of the deaths in the state of New York” and an even higher percentage in her community.
“I believe that we need to have an independent investigation and we cannot trust the state of New York to do an independent investigation,” she added, according to Fox. “I know the governor’s called on the attorney general to do so, but this is the attorney general that he handpicked in a special election to be the candidate.”
Though Malliotakis might be among the most outspoken, criticism of Cuomo’s decision is widespread and bipartisan, as Breitbart notes.
Assemblyman Ron Kim, a Democrat, tweeted that the governor’s “flip-flopping policies” on the issue were dangerous, later calling the initial decree “arguably the deadliest decision in American history.”
Richard Gottfried, another Democratic assemblyman, said “there needs to be a professional review of not only the industry as a whole but what the Department of Health has been doing, both leading up to this situation and in the midst of this situation.”
As states across the U.S. gradually reopen from coronavirus shutdowns, it is clear there is plenty left to learn about this pandemic. As the dust settles, however, leaders including Cuomo will be required to account for the decisions they made when it mattered most.