Two weeks ago, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Cuomo’s fellow Democrat, vetoed a piece of legislation that would have prevented patients with active COVID-19 infections from being placed in nursing homes. Instead, the legislation would have required these individuals to be treated in entirely separate, otherwise empty facilities reserved exclusively for those who have already contracted the disease.
It is impossible to mount a scientific justification for Whitmer’s veto. It was an act of pure spite, a move that signaled nothing save her unlimited contempt for the Republican-controlled state legislature. Her feeble defense — that not placing virus patients in nursing homes where their chances of infecting their fellow occupants are all but guaranteed would have violated their medical rights and privacy rights — is risible on its face. Where were the supposed rights of the same individuals when they were moved from hospitals to nursing homes, ostensibly in accordance with guidelines from the CDC? Where were the rights of those who would be exposed to this lethal disease? Only three days after the first case of the virus was confirmed in Michigan, the head of the Healthcare Association of Michigan proposed treating coronavirus patients in vacant facilities in a widely shared letter. This idea, which would almost certainly have saved hundreds and perhaps even thousands of lives, was imperiously dismissed out of hand by Whitmer.