One of the more dire statistics coming out of the mountains of data we’ve accumulated about the novel Coronavirus is the fact that close to half of all the deaths in the United States from the disease took place in nursing homes. That figure applies to New York State, one of the hardest hit regions in the country. And as time has gone on, increasing attention has been paid to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order from March 25 stating that nursing homes could not refuse admission to patients, even if they tested positive for the virus.
Now, however, it’s gotten a bit harder to find all of the associated information if you are researching this alarming statistic. That’s because the page on the New York Health Department’s website where the Governor’s order was previously published has gone missing. If you had it bookmarked, it now redirects you to an unrelated page. (Fox News)
New York officials have scrubbed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s March 25 order requiring nursing homes to take in COVID-19 patients from the state health department website — even as Cuomo’s office insists that the order, which has been linked to thousands of nursing home deaths, remains in effect.
The web page that once contained the order now directs to a page indicating that the file is “not found.” The archive indicates that the deletion occurred sometime after May 5, around the time that criticism over New York’s nursing home fatalities intensified.
A copy of the page saved by the Internet archive Wayback Machine, however, shows that Cuomo’s order stated: “No resident shall be denied readmission or admission to the NH [nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. NHs [Nursing homes] are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”
I first caught wind of this story yesterday when it popped up on the Twitter account for Reagan Batallion.
Breaking: @NYGovCuomo deleted his March 25th order to force nursing homes to admit recovering coronavirus patients.
The NYS Department of health removed the page from their website. pic.twitter.com/wrZ7EfjqsM
— Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) May 26, 2020
The Cuomo administration has been beside themselves in trying to play down this story and they’ve had plenty of cooperation from most of the MSM. (I’m not sure if the connection between that order and the number of nursing home deaths has ever been mentioned on CNN or MSNBC. I couldn’t find anything on a quick search.) All of the “explanations” offered up until now have been ludicrous.
One Cuomo spokesperson told the Post that the Governor hadn’t rescinded his order at all. He simply “added a directive, this one directed at hospitals, saying they must test patients and the patients must be negative before being sent back to a nursing home.”
Unfortunately for Team Cuomo, the Way Back Machine has a long memory and we still have the original order. Here’s exactly what it said:
“No resident shall be denied readmission or admission to the NH [nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. NHs [Nursing homes] are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”
By this point, I think we all realize that the nursing homes should have been the first places to be entirely shut down. Nobody should have been allowed in without full protective gear and a test to ensure they weren’t a carrier. The elderly and those with underlying health issues are the most likely to die of this disease. And New York was preventing the nursing homes from “discriminating” against those who might be infected.
Perhaps this news is starting to seep out and take a toll on Cuomo’s sterling image that CNN likes to talk up so much. The most recent polling shows that his once-phenomenal 71 percent approval rating from April has now sagged to 63 percent. That’s still very high for a governor (probably because of the blackout in media coverage of the nursing home story) but it’s starting to drop. And his specific approval record for how he handled nursing homes is now below water at 44%. So it sounds like New Yorkers are starting to pay attention after all.
A closing thought from the Daily Beast’s Harry Siegel
Cuomo very much putting this onus for covid deaths in nursing homes on nursing homes: "the obligation is on the nursing home to say, I can’t take a covd-positive person"
— Harry Siegel (@harrysiegel) May 27, 2020