Yes, why would we need an independent investigation of a governor using state resources to push his COVID-19 propaganda? Calls for a probe into Andrew Cuomo’s disastrous policy decisions on the pandemic and nursing homes, which led to thousands of perhaps avoidable deaths, are “political,” Cuomo insisted. And even if those calls weren’t political, Cuomo would still oppose a probe, he declared at a press conference today.
Doesn’t that sound kind of … political?
Cuomo, during a press conference Monday, said he “wouldn’t do an investigation” into the nursing home deaths during the coronavirus pandemic in the state of New York.
“I wouldn’t do an investigation whether or not it’s political, everybody can make that decision for themselves,” Cuomo said. “I think you’d have to be blind to realize it’s not political.”
He went on to say, “Just look at where it comes from and look at the sources and look at their political affiliations and look at who wrote the letter in Congress and look at what publications raise it and what media outward networks raise it.”
He added: “It’s kind of incredible.”
So who’s calling for a probe into Cuomo’s actions? That bastion of Empire State conservatism, the New York Daily News, which notes that the state might still be undercounting COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes. They also insist that it’s not just Republicans demanding some answers from the Cuomo administration:
Unlike other states, New York has only included in its tally deaths that occurred inside nursing home themselves. Why? How many nursing home residents died after being transferred to hospitals for treatment? Experts believe at least 1,600 fatalities may be unaccounted for.
Were nursing homes, many now operated by for-profit providers, understaffed during the pandemic, leaving residents neglected? Were inspectors doing everything necessary to ensure that state and federal health and safety regulations and infection controls were being followed?
Whenever these and other questions are raised, Cuomo suggests bad-faith politics are at work.
But many of the people asking tough questions are Democrats.
Let’s take a look at another partisan media outfit that still claims that Cuomo needs to provide more answers for the debacle in New York. Four weeks ago, ProPublica was still waiting for information about which nursing homes got infected by Cuomo’s march orders:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has yet to make public the names of dozens of nursing homes whose experiences could shed light on whether the administration’s controversial policy of sending hospital patients sick with COVID-19 into the vulnerable homes contributed to the state’s staggering loss of life.
Under the policy, more than 6,000 COVID-19 patients were sent from hospitals to nursing homes across the state, a move that scared and enraged many families worried about their loved ones being exposed to the deadly virus. To date, at least 6,500 nursing home residents have died of the virus, more than 6% of the state’s entire nursing home population.
According to a study released by the administration last week, 58 nursing homes in the state had not seen a case of COVID-19 among staff or residents before the arrival of one of the coronavirus patients from the hospital. But the report said nothing more about what happened at those homes — how many people had died or become infected, if any, and what role, if any, the arrival of the patients might have played in those outcomes.
Asked repeatedly by ProPublica about the fate of those 58 homes, spokespersons for the governor and his Health Department did not respond.
Needless to say, the Daily News and ProPublica are hardly conservative in any way, shape or form. Even if that were the case, an independent investigation would clear up any lingering suspicions. If Cuomo’s sure that his actions are defensible, then why oppose an investigation into what clearly is the kind of policy decision that requires the utmost transparency, given its life-and-death nature and the defenselessness of the population put at risk?
In fairness, it would be tough for Cuomo to add an investigation of his performance into his Covid Mountain Poster of Victory at this point.
By the way, the question itself was framed to suggest that it would allow both Republicans and Democrats to sign off on the panel. Still a no go, says Cuomo and his press secretary:
(2/2) "Would you support an Independent investigation in order to bridge mutual suspicion about partisanship getting the public a better understanding of what exactly happened in adult facilities and nursing homes?"
— Bernadette Hogan (@bern_hogan) August 10, 2020
“What about a panel of experts who ostensibly would not be political at all-would be trusted by Democrats and Republicans alike to investigate what exactly happened in nursing homes?"
You & the Governor said no, bc you think what's been done is sufficient, no?
— Bernadette Hogan (@bern_hogan) August 10, 2020
That’s “kind of incredible,” but not in the way Cuomo argued. Perhaps this might be enough to get more scrutiny applied to Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic, rather than the media cheerleading that has accompanied Cuomo’s disastrous results.