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ALBANY – Congressman Tom Reed took Gov. Andrew Cuomo to task for the high number of nursing home deaths in New York from COVID-19.
Reed held a press conference Thursday to blast Cuomo and ask several questions about Cuomo’s order to not bar COVID positive seniors from nursing homes unable to isolate them. He was joined by Congressman Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who also called out Cuomo’s decisions and response to criticism.
Cuomo’s decisions had a devastating impact on nursing home seniors, causing at least 6,200 deaths and possibly double that, Reed said.
“I heard the concerns for these people in real time and no one listened in Albany,” Reed said.
Cuomo was given prior written notice that his decision could endanger thousands of people, Reed said, but that, “there were no responsible leaders making decisions.”
He said Cuomo tried to deflect by saying he was only following President Trump’s guidelines.
Cuomo’s order required nursing homes to take all residents regardless of their COVID conditions and denied nursing homes the right to test patients.
“Over 40 percent of all COVID-19 deaths come from less than 1 percent of the American population and that was seniors in nursing homes,” Scalise said, noting the Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services issued 14 different sets of guidelines, none of which called for the choices Cuomo made.
“The only way nursing homes should take back seniors from hospitals is if they weren’t COVID positive or if they were COVID positive and you had to show that as a nursing home you could isolate and treat,” Scalise said the CMS advised.
“This had deadly consequences. They should have been kept in the hospital where they could be treated, instead they went back into a tinder box,” Scalise said. “These were all preventable. We want to know how many, but unfortunately New York stopped reporting that data.”
Scalise said Cuomo’s blaming the federal government was fact-checked and determined to be a lie.
“His order went directly against that guidance. We want to know why he made it. I have started hearing from a lot of residents of New York State who lost their parents and grandparents. They want answers and they deserve answers. We all ought to be seeking these answers,” Reed said.
Saying he is infuriated by the preventable deaths and Cuomo’s lack of honesty regarding his decisions, Reed said this issue is going to the top levels of government and that he is working with Trump Administration officials in seeking clarification of Cuomo’s decisions.
“This is something that’s not going away and rightfully so, it’s going right to the very top. It infuriates me,” Reed said.
Reed questioned Cuomo’s motivation in his decision-making process.
“The governor’s campaign got $2.5 million from the health industry. Were they responding to political interests or were they responding to our grandparents to keep them safe and sound, that’s something only he can answer,” Reed said.
Reed blasted Cuomo, saying his responses have been disrespectful to people who lost loved ones.
“For him to flippantly just outright lie is so disrespectful to these families. He’ll hold a press conference and everybody will pat him on the back. That’s not leadership, that’s just showboating,” Reed said.
Reed said officials need to prepare now in case their is a COVID-19 resurgence coming up.
“We’re going to make sure, God forbid, this never happens again,” he said.
Scalise called on Cuomo to explain his decisions and how and why he made them.
“The governor needs to explain why he did that, going against scientific data. He created more COVID-19 positive cases because he put seniors at risk.”
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