After mounting criticism and thousands of deaths in New York nursing homes—including several individual facilities that have lost more than 50 residents—the state on Sunday reversed the mandate, which said nursing homes couldn’t refuse to accept patients from hospitals who had been diagnosed with Covid-19. New York now says hospitals can send patients to nursing homes only if they have tested negative for the virus…

“The state has failed to protect the lives of the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Ron Kim, a Democratic member of the state Assembly whose Queens district has seen many nursing-home deaths. “The fact we maintained and pushed Covid-positive patients into facilities that were not equipped to handle them, it was a fatal error.”

The transfer of recovering coronavirus patients to nursing homes compounded broader vulnerabilities at the facilities, including low levels of staffing and limited access to protective gear and testing, which made them weak spots in New York’s fight against the pandemic. Despite the homes’ elderly, frail populations, the state long put its major focus on the safety, staffing and supplies of hospitals, according to researchers, consumer groups and nursing-home executives.