Unexpectedly Intriguing!
May 12, 2020
COVID-19 - Martin Sanchez via Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/photos/Tzoe6VCvQYg

We're fascinated with how politicians use data and models in setting the policies they pursue, where knowing both what they knew and when they knew it can explain a lot about why they made the choices they did at the time they made them.

To that end, we've been paying attention to how Governor Andrew Cuomo has been managing the difficult task of coping with the coronavirus epidemic in New York, and in New York City in particular, which has been the focal point for both the number of cases and the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus across the United States. We've assembled a timeline of Governor Cuomo discussing the predictive models for how fast the coronavirus infection would spread within New York, which provides insight into how that information affected his decisions for how to allocate the limited health care resources over which he had influence during the worst part of the epidemic in his state.

We're going to pick up the action shortly after 7 March 2020, the date Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency because of the coronavirus epidemic in New York, when the number of coronavirus cases within the state had 'soared' to 89. The following article is the earliest in which we find a reference to coronavirus modeling projections for New York City, which had been put together by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's staff:

9 March 2020: Coronavirus Cases in New York State Rise to 105:

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday that the city had 13 confirmed cases, including a new case of a man in the Bronx. Based on modeling, his team estimated there could be 100 cases in the next two or three weeks, but for most people, the illness would result in very mild symptoms.

Three days later, New York City had nearly reached that total and was set to blast through it, prompting Governor Cuomo to ban all public events with more than 500 people in attendance and to require gatherings with fewer than 500 people to cut capacity by 50%. The faster than previously projected growth in the number of COVID-19 infections drove a change in public policy.

Four days after that, Governor Cuomo had clearly been presented with projections that showed the exponential growth in the number of cases that had gotten underway in New York.

16 March 2020 - Audio & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo is a Guest on CNN's Cuomo Prime Time:

"I see a wave and the wave is going to break on the health care system ... You take any numerical projections on any of the models and our health care system has no capacity to deal with it."...

"Yeah. I think you look at that trajectory, just go dot, dot, dot, dot, connect the dots with a pencil. You look at that arc, we're up to about 900 cases in New York. It's doubling on a weekly basis. You draw that arc, you understand we only have 53,000 hospital beds total, 3,000 ICU beds, we go over the top very soon."

At this point, Governor Cuomo was beginning to appreciate that the thousands of hospital beds across the state of New York were really a scarce resource. He expanded on that realization the next day after an overnight surge in the number of reported cases:

17 March 2020 - Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Announces Three-Way Agreement with Legislature on Paid Sick Leave Bill to Provide Immediate Assistance for New Yorkers Impacted By COVID-19:

"There is a curve, everyone's talked about the curve, everyone's talked about the height and the speed of the curve and flattening the curve. I've said that curve is going to turn into a wave and the wave is going to crash on the hospital system.

I've said that from day one because that's what the numbers would dictate and this is about numbers and this is about facts. This is not about prophecies or science fiction movies. We have months and moths of data as to how this virus operates. You can go back to China. That's now five, six months of experience. So just project from what you know. You don't have to guess.

We have 53,000 hospital beds in the State of New York. We have 3,000 ICU beds. Right now the hospitalization rate is running between 15 and 19 percent from our sample of the tests we take. We have 19.5 million people in the State of New York. We have spent much time with many experts projecting what the virus could actually do, going back, getting the China numbers, the South Korea numbers, the Italy numbers, looking at our rate of spread because we're trying to determine what is the apex of that curve, what is the consequence so we can match it to the capacity of the health care system. Match it to the capacity of the health care system. That is the entire exercise.

The, quote on quote, experts, and by the way there are no phenomenal experts in this area. They're all using the same data that the virus has shown over the past few months in other countries, but there are extrapolating from that data.

The expected peak is around 45 days. That can be plus or minus depending on what we do. They are expecting as many as 55,000 to 110,000 hospital beds will be needed at that point. That my friends is the problem that we have been talking about since we began this exercise. You take the 55,000 to 110,000 hospital beds and compare it to a capacity of 53,000 beds and you understand the challenge."

Faced with the potential shortage of needing 110,000 beds and only having 53,000 to provide care to coronavirus patients in New York, Governor Cuomo lobbied President Trump for support, which resulted in President Trump ordering the U.S. Navy's hospital ship USNS Comfort to sail to New York City the next day, and also lobbied for the U.S. Army's Corps of Engineers to begin identifying public facilities in New York City to be converted for use as temporary hospitals to handle the projected overflow of coronavirus patients from regular hospitals.

USNS Comfort would arrive in New York City on 30 March 2020, and the Army Corps of Engineers would have 1,000 beds ready at New York City's Javits Center ready on 27 March 2020, and were working to expand it to a 2,500 bed temporary hospital facility by 1 April 2020. But during the time in between, the updated projections of the coronavirus models led Governor Cuomo to panic.

24 March 2020: Andrew Cuomo: Apex of coronavirus outbreak in NY two or three weeks away:

Cuomo, speaking at his daily COVD-19 briefing in Manhattan, said the state's projection models now suggest the apex of the coronavirus crisis could hit New York within 14 to 21 days, rather than the 45 days the state projected late last week.

He likened it to a "bullet train" headed for New York, urging the federal government to deploy as many ventilators and as much protective medical gear it can to the state as quickly as possible.

"Where are they?" Cuomo said. "Where are the ventilators? Where are the masks? Where are the gowns? Where are they?”

At this point, we should show what one of the more influential coronavirus models that Governor Cuomo was using looked like. The following chart is taken from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)'s 25 March 2020 projections showing its estimates of the minimum, likely, and maximum number of additional hospital beds that would be needed in the state of New York to care for the model's expected surge of coronavirus patients.

IHME Forecast of All Hospital Beds Required for COVID-19 Care Beyond Available Capacity in New York State, Projection from 25 March 2020

This is just one of several coronavirus models whose projections were being combined and presented to Governor Cuomo by consultants from McKinsey & Co., where the IHME's coronavirus model's projections for New York are consistent with the figures and timing of a peak cited by Governor Cuomo in the days preceding his panic.

Faced with what appeared to be an imminent shortage of hospital beds and other medical resources, the Cuomo administration appears to have adopted an emergency triage strategy, one that would have devastatingly deadly consequences. Here, to free up as many beds as possible in New York's near-capacity hospitals, the Cuomo administration would try to move as many patients infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus as they could out of these facilities into others, even though they could still be contagious and present the risk of spreading infections within the facilities to which they would be transferred.

25 March 2020: The facilities in which they chose to place them were predominantly privately run nursing homes, where a directive issued by the state's Department of Health on 25 March 2020 mandated they must admit them into their facilities, where refusals could mean the loss of their New York state-issued licenses to operate.

New York Department Of Health Directive to Nursing Homes Mandating Admission of Coronavirus-Infected Patients, 25 March 2020

Flashing forward to the end of March 2020, the coronavirus epidemic forecast models Governor Cuomo was using in making his decisions were pointing to the peak still being ahead:

Cuomo said various predictive models being used by New York indicate the apex of the surge for hospitals will come anywhere from 7 to 21 days from now.

“The virus is more powerful, more dangerous than we expected,” Cuomo said. “We’re still going up the mountain. The main battle is on top of the mountain.”

Four days later, the coronavirus models were predicting the peak was almost upon New York:

While giving an update Saturday on the frantic work to ready New York hospitals for the most intense period of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the state’s models put the so-called apex about four-to-eight days out.

“By the numbers, we’re not yet at the apex. We’re getting closer,” he said at his daily press briefing. “Depending on whose model you look at, they’ll say four, five, six, seven, days, some people go out 14 days. But our reading of the projections is that we’re somewhere in the seven-day range. Four, five, six, seven, eight-day range.”

“Part of me would like to be at the apex, and just, let’s do it,” Cuomo continued. “But there’s part of me that says it’s good that we’re not at the apex because we’re not yet ready for the apex, either. We’re not yet ready for the high point...the more time we have to improve the capacity, the better.”

But on 6 April 2020, the IHME model revised its estimates for New York and the U.S. downward, indicating the peak Governor Cuomo feared would overwhelm New York's hospitals was not going to come anywhere close to what it had previously projected. On 8 April 2020, it indicated New York had already passed its peak in number of daily new cases.

Ordinarily, that would be a good thing. Except, Governor Cuomo had taken an action by which he intended to avoid the spectacle of having pictures of sick New Yorkers not able to get medical treatment in the media, but instead ensured the state's death toll from its coronavirus epidemic would no longer be small. That part of the story has its own special timeline, which we've moved here from the bottom of the article where we had previously been piecing together this part of the story of COVID-19 in New York....

The Governor Who Kills Grandmas?

There's a series of extremely disturbing stories coming out from the state of New York related to Governor Cuomo's and his administration's handling of the coronavirus epidemic within the state's nursing homes for the elderly, where the administration's deliberate negligence appear to have greatly amplified the state's death toll from COVID-19. Here is a timeline of significant events related to the implementation of the state's deadly policy of placing sick COVID-19 patients in private nursing homes:

7 March 2020: Cuomo declares state of emergency in New York as state coronavirus cases soar to 89 - This article outlines one of the earliest actions Governor Cuomo took in addressing New York's coronavirus epidemic. In the following excerpt, he clearly knew that nursing home patients were uniquely at risk from coronavirus infections and was taking action to reduce their risks of exposure:

Nursing homes and senior living facilities in the New Rochelle area will be asked to suspend outside visitors, he said.

“Nursing homes are the most problematic setting for us,” given that the virus is most deadly for elderly and medically compromised patients, Cuomo said.

This article confirms Governor Cuomo has known the risks of coronavirus infection to nursing home patients from the very beginning of the coronavirus epidemic in the state of New York.

12 March 2020: Cuomo ends visitation at nursing homes to fight coronavirus - Governor Cuomo expanded his actions to protect nursing home patients to cover the entire state of New York. Note his statement:

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday suspended all visits to nursing homes as the spread of the coronavirus worsens statewide.

“This means no visitors in a nursing home,” Cuomo said. “If you care for someone in a nursing home, the last thing you want to do is endanger them.”...

“That is the most vulnerable population,” Cuomo said earlier this week. “It is the most dangerous situation faced by the virus … that’s my nightmare. You are going to see pain and damage from this in nursing homes.”

Indeed, that risk was also communicated in the official directive New York's Department of Health issued to nursing homes the next day. And the very last thing you would want to do is purposefully introduce the coronavirus infection into a nursing home. And yet, less than two weeks later....

25 March 2020: Governor Cuomo failed to protect the most vulnerable of our citizens by prohibiting Nursing Homes from denying re-admission or admission to patients that have tested positive COVID-19. - This 22 April 2020 tweet includes a copy of the 25 March 2020 directive the state of New York's Department of Health Services sent to nursing homes requiring them to admit patients infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

In retrospect, the 12 March 2020 order blocking the family members of nursing home patients from visiting them made what came later possible, because it blocked the consequences of the 25 March 2020 policy from becoming known to the public as quickly as it would have otherwise been, which enabled it to last longer than it might have otherwise.

26 March 2020: New York Mandates Nursing Homes Take Covid-19 Patients Discharged From Hospitals - The pushback from nursing homes fearing harm to their resident patients was immediate, as this article confirms. Here's a short excerpt:

A group representing doctors who work in nursing homes, known as AMDA, the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, said in a recent resolution that “admitting patients with suspected or documented Covid-19 infection represents a clear and present danger to all of the residents of a nursing home.”

“We’ve got an extraordinarily vulnerable population on our hands,” said Christopher Laxton, executive director of the group. Nursing homes’ older, often frail residents are particularly susceptible to the virus. Many nursing homes have also long struggled with infection control, according to federal inspection records and researchers.

The Cuomo administration cannot say they were not warned of the danger of their policy from the very time it was implemented.

29 March 2020: Cuomo says virus and nursing homes a ‘toxic mix’; 8,519 cases in Westchester - This is one of the earliest reports confirming that Governor Cuomo and his administration's public health officials were very well aware of the risk of their policy from a very early date. Note that this report came just 9 days after Governor Cuomo ordered New Yorkers to stay-at-home and business closures statewide. Also note that he was fighting President Trump's proposed quarantine of New York City and the surrounding counties (including in New Jersey and Connecticut) that have seen the highest rates of coronavirus-related infections and deaths in the U.S.

Here's a key quote from the article confirming Governor Cuomo knew what the consequences of placing contagious coronavirus patients in nursing homes were:

“This virus preys on the vulnerable. It preys on seniors. It preys on people with compromised immune systems and underlying illnesses. And coronavirus in a nursing home can be like fire in dry grass,” Cuomo said.

And so it was. It's not like this information wasn't known by the state of New York's top officials responsible for managing the state's epidemic response. They knowingly chose to do it anyway.

14 April 2020: Cuomo Raises Concern Over Growing Number Of Nursing Home Deaths - just a little over two weeks after the previous report, confirming the situation at nursing homes in New York was getting far worse, not better.

20 April 2020: Cuomo didn’t know coronavirus patients are being sent back to nursing homes - This is the first report where New York's media began actively challenging Governor Cuomo's and his administration on the actions they were taking during the epidemic in the state.

New York’s health commissioner on Monday defended a directive that requires nursing homes to readmit residents who’ve tested positive for the coronavirus — as Gov. Andrew Cuomo revealed he didn’t know the policy was in place.

Cuomo was asked about the state’s policy on admitting or readmitting to nursing homes people who’d tested positive for COVID-19.

“That’s a good question, I don’t know,” the governor said.

Cuomo’s startling admission came days after the state revealed last week that at least 3,316 people in nursing homes and adult care facilities had died of coronavirus at their residences or in hospitals across the state.

Based on the timeline of events and news reporting, our view is that Governor Cuomo's claim is almost certainly false. We also think it is highly unlikely that New York's public health officials would implement such an obviously high risk policy that so contradicted their previous policy and statements made by the governor on their own without the governor's tacit, if not explicit, approval.

21 April 2020: Andrew Cuomo’s coronavirus nursing home policy proves tragic: Goodwin - Michael Goodwin's column explores how Governor Cuomo and his administration's policies of deliberate neglect cost the life of a grandmother, providing a human anecdote to go along with the cold, hard data.

22 April 2020: Gov. Cuomo says ‘it’s not our job’ to provide PPE to nursing homes - This article reveals Governor Cuomo's apparent contempt for elderly New Yorkers and confirms his administration saw no problem with diverting resources like protective personal equipment from the nursing home facilities the state regulates and which they knew were at very high risk to directly benefit state and local government employees. If you want to know what life would be like under a Medicare for All single-payer health care system, this should tell you everything you need to know about how the people who would run such a system would choose to allocate resources within it in making life-and-death decisions.

23 April 2020: Coronavirus patients admitted to Queens nursing home — with body bags - This is easily the most disturbing report to come out of New York with respect to Governor Cuomo's and his administration's coronavirus epidemic policies. Here's the introduction:

The first coronavirus patients admitted to a Queens nursing home under a controversial state mandate arrived along with some grim accessories — a supply of body bags, The Post has learned.

An executive at the facility — which was previously free of the deadly disease — said the bags were in the shipment of personal protective equipment received the same day the home was forced to begin treating two people discharged from hospitals with COVID-19.

“My colleague noticed that one of the boxes was extremely heavy. Curious as to what could possibly be making that particular box so much heavier than the rest, he opened it,” the exec told The Post Thursday.

“The first two coronavirus patients were accompanied by five body bags.”

That's quite an indication what state officials expected would happen from the implementation of the Cuomo administration's policy. If that is indeed how the policy was implemented, it's no wonder Governor Cuomo is seeking to deflect attention away from it, which perhaps explains the next headline....

23 April 2020: N.Y. Gov. Cuomo says state nursing homes will be investigated - But only privately-run nursing homes. Nursing homes run by the state of New York will not be investigated. Oddly enough, Governor Cuomo also did not initiate an investigation of his administration or its policies.

24 April 2020: Cuomo: 'Nobody's to blame' for NY nursing home COVID-19 deaths - Phrased differently, Governor Cuomo denies personal responsibility for himself and his administration for any COVID-19 nursing home deaths. Also, what does this say about Governor Cuomo's 'investigation' when the governor has conveniently pre-determined its outcome?

25 April 2020: Coronavirus spreads in a New York nursing home forced to take recovering patients - This article directly links coronavirus deaths in New York's nursing homes to the policy the state implemented a month earlier prohibiting the nursing homes from denying admission to contagious patients. The policy is described as "reckless and careless" by a health care worker.

26 April 2020: Cuomo doubles down on ordering nursing homes to admit coronavirus patients - this article reveals how Governor Cuomo refuses to allow challenges to the state government's authority in requiring nursing homes to admit coronavirus-infected patients.

The governor — who himself has described nursing homes as a “feeding frenzy’’ for the deadly coronavirus — said that the facilities can’t challenge a state regulation forcing them to admit patients with the contagion.

But he insisted that nursing homes could transfer those ill with the virus to another facility if the centers lacked such things as quarantine space, proper protective equipment and staff.

Asked by a reporter at his daily briefing Sunday if there was anything contradictory about his statements, the governor replied, “No.”

How did that work in practice?

The CEO of a hard-hit Brooklyn nursing home, where 55 patients have died from the coronavirus, told The Post last week that he’d been warning state Health Department officials for weeks he had staffing and equipment issues — yet received little help.

“There is no way for us to prevent the spread under these conditions,’’ the head of the Cobble Hill Health Center, Donny Tuchman, wrote in an e-mail to the department on April 8.

He said he asked to move some patients to the makeshift wards at Manhattan’s Javits Center and aboard the city-docked USNS Comfort amid the pandemic, only to be told those two spots were receiving only patients from hospitals.

“I made specific requests to transfer patients, and it didn’t happen,’’ Tuchman told The Post. “There weren’t options.”

The article also reports that state health officials "conducted a focus study" of the facility and determined it had sufficient resources in their view to justify rejecting the nursing home's CEO's requests to transfer patients, finding they had plenty of masks and gloves. The article doesn't indicate what they thought of the staffing or other issues cited by the facility in their requests.

There's enough information here to indicate New York's top health officials were effectively implementing a triage strategy with the primary objective of reducing what they anticipated would be the peak load of coronavirus patients on hospitals directly at the expense of privately-run nursing homes, as confirmed by the transfers of patients known to be carriers of the coronavirus from hospitals to nursing homes, along with body bags. That the facilities they designated to take on overflow patients from hospitals went almost completely unused confirms they badly misjudged what the peak load would be.

27 April 2020: Cuomo blames his refusal to help coronavirus-hit nursing home on Navy protocol - Why didn't Governor Cuomo send uninfected nursing home patients to the U.S.S. Comfort, the naval hospital ship sent by the U.S. Navy to take the load off New York City's nursing homes? This article shows his attempt to deflect personal culpability and blame the Navy's policies along with the management of the non-profit nursing home that was overloaded with coronavirus patients because of his administration's policies.

28 April 2020: Cuomo Claims He Didn’t Know About New York Rule Forcing Nursing Homes To Accept Elderly With COVID-19 - There's not much new information on Governor Cuomo's COVID-19 nursing home scandal in this article, but it indicates that both California and New Jersey implemented similar rules as New York's to force nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients. Separately, over 3,000 coronavirus infection-related deaths have occurred at nursing homes in New York.

29 April 2020: Requiring NY Nursing Homes to Accept COVID Patients Caused Deaths - In addition to revealing a potential motive for why Governor Cuomo's administration put nursing home patients at risk with its reckless policy (fearing a surge in COVID-19 patients that could overwhelm hospitals predicted by the IHME model, which is proving to be far from accurate, the Cuomo administration effected a 'triage' policy, with nursing homes the designated losers), this article also reveals the state had fined several of the nursing homes at which it place infected coronavirus patients for unsanitary conditions as recently as earlier this year.

In other words, New York's state regulators already knew these facilities would place nursing home patients at extremely high risk because they had already faulted them for conditions that would be conducive to spreading a viral infection. Then New York state officials required these facilities to accept patients infected with the coronavirus. Then the same New York state officials refused to transfer patients the nursing homes, lacking the resources and environment needed to provide proper care, requested be moved to facilities that could.

29 April 2020: New York let coronavirus-infected nurses work in upstate nursing home - This may be the second most disturbing news story to come out from New York. Here's the introduction:

The state Health Department allowed nurses and other staff who tested positive for the coronavirus to continue treating COVID-19 patients at an upstate nursing home, The Post has learned.

State officials signed off on the move during an April 10 conference call that excluded local officials from Steuben County, who protested the move, according to a document provided by the county government’s top administrator, Jack Wheeler.

At least 15 people have died at the Hornell Gardens nursing home in the tiny town of Hornell since the outbreak, according to county tallies. State records show just seven deaths across the county and include no data about this home.

Allowing staff known to have tested positive for carrying the deadly coronavirus and at high risk of being contagious continue working to provide care to nursing home patients is the equivalent of knowingly allowing a serial killer the freedom to move from victim to victim. This isn't just a reckless policy, it may qualify as either manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide on the part of those who gave the green light to make this happen.

29 April 2020: State Ends Policy Allowing COVID-Positive Nursing Home Staffers to Work - It didn't take long for New York's public health officials to rescind their policy of allowing health care by coronavirus-infected nursing home staff after it was exposed. Meanwhile, the state's policy of requiring nursing homes to admit coronavirus-infected patients remains in force.

1 May 2020: States ordered nursing homes to take COVID-19 residents. Thousands died. Here’s what happened - New York wasn't the only state that forced nursing homes to admit known coronavirus-infected patients without ensuring they were equipped to handle them. This article counts up the associated deaths and describes a large number of actions now being taken that should have been implemented from the beginning.

3 May 2020: Faced with 20,000 dead, care homes seek shield from lawsuits - This article looks at the lobbying effort nursing homes have launched to protect themselves from lawsuits related to the coronavirus deaths they have incurred, which total nearly a third of all deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the U.S. The portions of the article that address New York are telling:

At least 15 states have enacted laws or governors’ orders that explicitly or apparently provide nursing homes and long-term care facilities some protection from lawsuits arising from the crisis. And in the case of New York, which leads the nation in deaths in such facilities, a lobbying group wrote the first draft of a measure that apparently makes it the only state with specific protection from both civil lawsuits and criminal prosecution.

Why is New York so different in protecting nursing homes from criminal prosecution? The article goes on to describe Governor Cuomo's relationship with the nursing home industry after describing the efforts of the industry to gain immunity protections in recent years, which looks like the industry's lobbyists have been actively engaged in providing funds to support the governor's political priorities:

Nowhere have the industry’s efforts played out more starkly than in New York, which has a fifth of the nation’s known nursing home and long-term care deaths and has had at least seven facilities with outbreaks of 40 deaths or more, including one home in Manhattan that reported 98.

New York's immunity law signed by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo was drafted by the Greater New York Hospital Association, an influential lobbying group for both hospitals and nursing homes that donated more than $1 million to the state Democratic Party in 2018 and has pumped more than $7 million into lobbying over the past three years.

New York's immunity law, the Emergency Disaster Treatment Protection Act (EDTPA), was enacted on 20 April 2020, just as New York's coronavirus nursing home scandal began blowing up in the news. Since New York is uniquely alone in the nation at this point in shielding nursing home operators from prosecution for coronavirus-related deaths resulting from criminal negligence, it looks like the industry lobbyists have successfully used the additional leverage that the Cuomo administration's scandalous actions have provided them to get something they haven't been able to get elsewhere. Since New York wasn't the only state that allowed the practice, it will be interesting to see what happens on this count in the others, such as New Jersey and California.

4 May 2020: Pataki slams Cuomo, calls for investigation into nursing home deaths amid coronavirus - The former governor is calling for an independent investigation of the scandal, the Cuomo administration is resisting.

5 May 2020: Another 1,700 Virus Deaths Reported in NY Nursing Homes - according to this article, 4,813 nursing home residents have died from COVID-19 in New York overall since 1 March 2020, or about a quarter of the 19,415 deaths in the state at this point.

5 May 2020: Coronavirus Toll: ‘Absolutely Horrifying’ Surge Of 98 Dead At NYC Nursing Home - this article puts paid to Governor Cuomo's claim (see 26 April 2020) that state officials only put coronavirus-infected patients into nursing homes filled with high-mortality risk elderly patients if they had sufficient resources to care for them and could protect patients from exposure to the coronavirus. Here's an excerpt:

“Isabella, like all other nursing homes in New York City, initially had limited access to widespread and consistent in-house testing to quickly diagnose our residents and staff,” Audrey Waters, a spokeswoman for the nursing home, wrote in an email. “This hampered our ability to identify those who were infected and asymptomatic, despite our efforts to swiftly separate anyone who presented symptoms.”

Isabella also encountered staffing shortages, prompting it to hire from outside agencies and early challenges securing personal protective equipment for employees. Waters said the home finally is “getting more access to testing” now.

Apparently, nursing homes needed more than a week's supply of masks and gloves that state officials would seem to have believed was all that was necessary to care for the COVID-19 patients the state mandated they admit into their facilities.

6 May 2020: SEE IT: At least 20 bodies removed from Harlem nursing home during coronavirus pandemic, though state data only shows five COVID-19 deaths - This article (and video) suggests the death toll in New York's nursing homes is being greatly understated by state officials. It also points out that many deaths being reported in hospitals may be traced to infections that occurred in the state's nursing homes, which would also understate the extent to which nursing home patients are contributing to the state's coronavirus death toll.

7 May 2020: Cuomo's Nursing Home Investigation May Present "Conflict Of Interest" - This article discusses the inherent conflict of interest that exists in how Governor Cuomo's investigation of nursing homes has been set up as a joint affair between the state attorney general, a member of Governor Cuomo's political party, and the state's Department of Health, which oversees and regulates the state's nursing homes, and which is being exempted from being a target the investigation, even though its role in forcing nursing homes to admit contagious coronavirus patients and in allowing infected nursing home staff to remain on the job contributed to the large and growing death tool at the state's nursing home facilities.

9 May 2020: NY’s Cuomo criticized over highest nursing home death toll - This PBS News Hour article provides some damning figures, which to put into perspective, we'll note that Johns Hopkins is reporting a total 77,180 deaths for the entire United States through 8 May 2020, with 26,243 of them in the state of New York. Here's an excerpt:

Of the nation’s more than 25,000 coronavirus deaths in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, more than a fifth of them — about 5,300 — are in New York, according to a count by The Associated Press, and the toll has been increasing by an average of 20 to 25 deaths a day for the past few weeks.

“The numbers, the deaths keep ticking up,” said MaryDel Wypych, an advocate for older adults in the Rochester area. “It’s just very frustrating.”

Across the U.S., the 25,000+ deaths attributed to COVID-19 that have occurred in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities represent at least 32% of the nation's total death count, with deaths in the state of New York's nursing homes resulting from Governor Cuomo's policies alone contributing nearly 7% of the national total.

These figures are almost certainly underestimates, where we suspect they do not fully reflect deaths that occurred among New York's nursing home patients who became infected thanks to the Cuomo administration's policies, who were subsequently transferred to hospitals where they passed away. One nurse describes Governor Cuomo's policies as "irresponsible, negligent, and stupid".

Meanwhile, at least 38% of all 9,116 lab-confirmed COVID-19 deaths in New Jersey occurred in that state's nursing homes and long term care facilities. Having followed the Cuomo administration's lead in forcing the state's nursing homes to admit infected patients beginning on 31 March 2020, the state has seen 97% of its coronavirus-confirmed deaths in the period since. Following Governor Cuomo's lead in exposing high-mortality risk patients to the coronavirus is proving especially deadly.

10 May 2020: Cuomo orders biweekly coronavirus tests for nursing home workers - This article reveals that Governor Cuomo has finally acted to make COVID-19 testing of nursing home staff a regular practice. Wait, what? Why wasn't this done in any of the 64 days that have elapsed since the governor declared a state of emergency for the coronavirus epidemic in New York and began block family members from visiting nursing home patients?

10 May 2020: Andrew Cuomo FINALLY Reverses Order Forcing Nursing Homes To Take COVID Patients, Demands Testing For Care Workers - Meanwhile, 46 days after the Cuomo administration's infamous order was issued, which proved to be the equivalent of throwing lit matches on "dry grass", Governor Cuomo has decided to stop it. Governor Cuomo has officially overruled the state's Department of Health 25 March 2020 directive by executive order, though the Department of Health has not yet issued its own new directive or guidance for nursing homes to follow it, we presume state officials will comply with it.

10 May 2020: Gov. Cuomo admits he was wrong to order nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients - If you've followed the links above, the New York Post has largely owned the story on the Cuomo administration's coronavirus nursing home scandal. In this editorial, they recap the coverage that forced Governor Cuomo to end his deadly policy. They've left one question unasked as yet: What compelled Governor Cuomo and his administration to completely contradict their previous statements and adopt it knowing the likely consequences of it in the first place? Our working hypothesis for answering that question is presented above.

11 May 2020: The Real Center of the Pandemic - This article reveals nursing homes to be the true 'ground zero' of the pandemic in the state of New York, accounting for 22% of confirmed cases despite representing less than 1% of the state's population.

Update 12 May 2020: Here's an annotated chart showing the rolling 7-day total of confirmed cases and deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the state of New York. Here is the source for the referenced data for nursing homes cases and deaths.

New York Rolling 7-Day Total Number of Newly Confirmed Cases and Deaths Attributed to COVID-19, 17 March 2020 through 12 May 2020

Why a rolling 7-day total? The daily data shows a cyclical pattern, with the numbers dipping every seven days, coinciding with weekends when many state and local government officials aren't working. Presenting the rolling 7-day counts smooths out that source of day-to-day volatility in the reported data.

Meanwhile, there are new calls for an independent investigation of the Cuomo administration's policies by state legislators, including calls for a federal investigation, which would resolve the conflict of interest issues inherent in the state attorney general's limited investigation.

Finally, we've also updated the second entry for 10 May 2020 to add a minor clarification and to improve its overall readability.

Update 15 May 2020: EXCLUSIVE: New York Admits Knowingly Undercounting Nursing Home Deaths After Quietly Changing Reporting Rules - There is no longer any question of whether New York has been deliberately understating the number of deaths related to the Cuomo administration's coronavirus nursing home scandal:

New York’s coronavirus tracker “currently does not include out of facility deaths,” NYSDOH spokeswoman Jill Montag told the DCNF. “Deaths of nursing home and adult care facility residents that occurred at hospitals is accounted for in the overall fatality data on our COVID-19 tracker.”

In other words, New York’s nursing home and adult care facility coronavirus deaths tracker omits any individuals who contracted coronavirus while living at a long-term care facility but died in a hospital.

The DCNF has confirmed our observation from 9 May 2020 (see above). Or if you don't want to scroll up that far, check out the chart with 12 May 2020's entry. Based on what other states in the northeast are reporting for the infection rate within their nursing homes and long term care facilities, we think New York's count for the number of confirmed coronavirus cases within its elderly care facilities are off by a factor of about 5.

Update 17 May 2020: Cuomo says "nobody" should be prosecuted in N.Y. for deaths caused by coronavirus. Here's the video from CBS News:

Perhaps by "nobody", he's referring to himself, his administration, and the state's public health officials, who he already effectively exempted from investigation back on 7 May 2020. On the other hand, if he's wondering what state law might apply to the people involved, we would suggest New York Penal Law Section 125.10, for criminally negligent homicide, might be somewhat relevant, if not Section 125.20 (manslaughter in the first degree).

A deadly coronavirus infestation of New York's nursing homes certainly wasn't "inevitable". Not until the Cuomo administration's policy went into effect.

Update 19 May 2020: NY didn’t count nursing home coronavirus victims for weeks; then, a stumbling rush for a death toll - there's an old saying among quality engineers: "What gets measured gets done". This article reveals that New York's public health officials weren't measuring COVID-19 infection at nursing homes and other long term care facilities in the state, which is to say they were blind to their plight (because they weren't even asking until 17 April 2020) and to the deadly crisis they had unleashed within them. Bureaucracy kills through negligence.

The article also presents a chart showing New York's coronavirus deaths by age group. Here's our adaptation of the chart:

20 May 2020: Gov. Cuomo: ‘Ask President Trump’ about nursing home deaths - This article reports on Governor Cuomo's attempt to blame President Trump for nursing home deaths that occurred as a direct result of his state's policy. He claims the guidance the CDC issued is at fault, but if that were true, we would have seen COVID-19 infected patients transferred from hospitals to nursing homes in all states, instead of just a handful, like New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, to name the worst offenders. Meanwhile other states following the exact same CDC guidelines adopted effective safeguards to prevent the contagion from spreading into nursing homes. New York Representative Elise Stefanik provided a rather complete refutation of Governor Cuomo's claim.

22 May 2020: AP count: Over 4,500 virus patients sent to NY nursing homes - This article delves into just how many contagious patients New York officials transferred from hospitals to nursing homes, where they would infect staff members, and subsequently, highly vulnerable patients.

23 May 2020: Cuomo still defends policy of filling nursing homes with coronavirus patients - This article details Governor Cuomo's continued attempts to avoid taking personal responsibility for the deadly order mandating nursing homes admit patients known to be infected with the coronavirus by blaming both President Trump and guidance provided by the CDC for his administration's actions.

25 May 2020: “We All Failed”— The Real Reason Behind NY Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Surprising Confession - It took until Memorial Day for Governor Cuomo to acknowledge the models he and other public officials relied upon in setting policy was wrong. Here are excerpts from Cuomo's comments at the news briefing that took place on the U.S.S. Intrepid museum in New York City (emphasis ours):

"Now, people can speculate. People can guess. I think next week, I think two weeks, I think a month. I'm out of that business because we all failed at that business. Right? All the early national experts. Here's my projection model. Here's my projection model. They were all wrong. They were all wrong.

"There are a lot of variables. I understand that. We didn't know what the social distancing would actually amount to. I get it, but we were all wrong. So, I'm sort of out of the guessing business, right?”

Unfortunately, much of Governor Cuomo's more recent actions are consistent with his seeking to muddy the waters in a deliberate efforts to avoid personal responsibility for costing the lives of thousands of elderly New Yorkers, where a full accounting of nursing home residents impacted by his decisions based on the models would cover over 10% of the names listed on the front page of the 24 May 2020 Sunday edition of the New York Times to represent all the COVID-19 deaths in all the U.S.

26 May 2020: Order Forcing Nursing Homes to Take Covid Patients Scrubbed from N.Y. State Website - This report reveals New York's Department of Health has removed its deadly order mandating nursing homes admit coronavirus-infected patients from its web site (it was linked here). Fortunately, others made a point of preserving multiple copies of the order at the Internet Archive.

26 May 2020: Betsy McCaughey: Cuomo nursing home scandal – Deaths likely closer to 10,000 and it gets worse - The former lieutenant governor of New York and the current chair of Committee to Reduce Infectious Diseases, a public advocacy group who seeks to reduce the incidence of preventable infections at U.S. hospitals, who has been serving in that role for several years, estimates the death toll from New York's deadly coronavirus nursing home scandal could be around double the state's current figures if the number of patients who were transferred from nursing homes to hospitals before dying were correctly added to the state's official death toll from nursing homes.

27 May 2020: New Yorkers disapprove of Gov. Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes: poll - News detailing Governor Cuomo's delinquency in addressing the spread of the coronavirus epidemic in New York and is recent attempts to deflect responsibility for his state's policy forcing nursing homes to admit contagious coronavirus patients by blaming both President Trump and the CDC for it is starting to hurt his standing in public opinion polls.

27 May 2020: Andrew Cuomo gave immunity to nursing home execs after big campaign donations - This article from the Guardian, a left-wing UK newspaper, connects the dots between campaign contributions from the state's government-regulated nursing home industry and the immunity from law suits for coronavirus deaths they were awarded just prior to the growing number of coronavirus deaths directly resulting from Governor Cuomo's deadly policies became a major scandal.

27 May 2020: How is Gov. Cuomo Not Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter? - This analysis considers what federal laws Governor Cuomo and New York's chief public health officer, Howard Zucker, may have violated in New York's coronavirus nursing home scandal. Here's the conclusion:

Given the state of knowledge on March 25, when Cuomo and Zucker enacted their policy, it is fair to say that New York’s policy amounted to a death sentence for many nursing home residents — deaths that would not have occurred but for this policy. And it is fair to say that both Cuomo and Zucker knew it. It is also textbook involuntary manslaughter. 18 U.S. Code § 1112, defines the federal crime of Manslaughter as the commission, “without due caution and circumspection, of a lawful act which might produce death.” The President should invite the AG to begin an appropriate investigation.

There's also the matter of how long the policy was allowed to continue after New York passed its peak in hospital resources being consumed because of the coronavirus epidemic, when the faulty reasoning that prompted state officials to initiate the policy no longer applied, which also appears to satisfy the federal legal definition for manslaughter. The sooner a federal investigation is mounted, the better.

28 May 2020: The Most Important COVID-19 Statistic: 43% Of U.S. Deaths Are From 0.6% Of The Population - The "0.6%" of the population referred to in this headline is the percentage of Americans who live in nursing homes and other assisted-living facilities. This article features some of the better analysis we've seen on the topic and contrasts the approaches taken by the governors of Florida and New York in following the CDC's guidelines as respective examples of what to do and what not to do in protecting residents of nursing homes from viral infections. The authors note that the "43%" figure in the headline would be considerably higher if New York's public officials were more honest about where patients who were counted as dying in hospitals from COVID-19 were exposed to the virus.

29 May 2020 States Are Copying and Pasting Immunity Laws for Nursing Home Executives - This article is not directly about New York but discusses the pay-for-play politics the nursing home industry used to secure its "get out of jail" pass from Governor Cuomo as the coronavirus epidemic raged in New York, where New York's law exempting nursing homes from lawsuits for fatally exposing residents to the viral infection has become the template for similar laws in other states. Corruption, it seems, spreads like a virus.

31 May 2020: Cuomo Cooks Coronavirus Numbers to Defend Controversial Nursing Home Policy - While we've known for weeks that New York's public health officials have been deliberately misclassifying deaths attributed to COVID-19 infections that resulted from the viral exposure of patients in the state's nursing homes to instead attribute them to hospitals, this report describes the Cuomo administration's use of those misleading statistics to try to minimize the appearance of its role in producing the deadly toll that resulted from the the administration's policy of forcing nursing homes to admit patients known to have coronavirus infections.

1 June 2020: Cuomo administration won't say when nursing home visits will resume - Since 7 March 2020, the Cuomo administration has blocked family members from visiting relatives living in New York's nursing homes. Originally presented as a protective measure for nursing home residents from coronavirus infections, this policy also worked to prevent the discovery of the extent to which infected patients were being placed in these facilities to expose residents to the risk of infections in the following weeks.

1 June 2020: Nearly 26,000 nursing home coronavirus deaths reported to feds - This Associated Press report provides partial national level data on the number of coronavirus deaths at nursing homes in the U.S. Here's an excerpt:

Federal health authorities have received reports of nearly 26,000 nursing home residents dying from COVID-19, according to materials prepared for the nation’s governors. That number is partial and likely to go higher.

A letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 60,000 cases of coronavirus illness among nursing home residents. A copy of the letter and an accompanying chart were provided to The Associated Press.

The numbers, which had been promised by the end of May, are partial. The letter said the data are based on reports received from about 80% of the nation’s 15,400 nursing homes.

The data applies only to federally-regulated nursing homes, which excludes assisted living facilities regulated by state governments. The data also only covers the period through 24 May 2020 for the portion of nursing homes reporting deaths of their residents. Back on 9 May 2020, AP reported a similar figure for the nation, with New York's official nursing home death count at 5,300, but that's with the state's public health officials deliberately misclassifying the deaths of nursing home residents that occurred outside of the nursing homes where they resided when they were transferred to hospitals at the ends of their lives. The numbers being reported by CMS will be much harder for the Cuomo administration to "cook", since they're focusing on reporting coronavirus-related deaths of people who were residing at nursing homes during the last several months.

2 June 2020: More than 40,000 coronavirus deaths tied to US nursing homes - This report is more comprehensive than the count released by CMS yesterday, including deaths that have occurred in assisted care facilities in addition to federal regulated nursing homes. The data still undercounts New York's contribution because of the state's deceptive death accounting practices. The figure also combines the deaths of residents and staff at nursing homes and other assisted living facilities, which we know from New Jersey's data is predominantly made up of the deaths of the residents of these facilities.

4 June 2020: Cuomo still stands by coronavirus nursing home order despite death toll - This report covers what Governor Cuomo said in a radio interview. Here's an excerpt from the New York Post's coverage:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday yet again doubled down on his decision to send coronavirus patients to nursing homes from hospitals — despite it potentially factoring in to more than 5,000 deaths.

The governor reiterated a March 25 health department mandate that required all nursing homes to accept residents who tested positive for COVID-19.

“So the choice is, leave a person in a hospital bed for two weeks until they test negative, or send them to a nursing home that can handle it and quarantine them and isolate them,” Cuomo said in an interview with Jay Oliver on Long Island News Radio.

“The nursing home is a better choice for that senior person, especially when you’re in a time when you need the hospital beds for people who are going to die without a ventilator.”

In many ways, Governor Cuomo's statements reflect his political and legal plight - he can neither afford to acknowledge the failure of judgment that led to his choice to implement the state's deadly policy without jeopardizing his political future, nor can he acknowledge his responsibility for actions that appear to qualify as criminally negligent homicide in New York or as involuntary manslaughter under federal law.

7 June 2020: Cuomo, under fire for coronavirus response, declares New York 'crushed' the curve - this article covers a Twitter message Governor Cuomo issued. Here's the text of the governor's tweet:

“We did the impossible. On Monday NYC will open phase one. We didn’t just flatten the curve — we crushed it. #NYTough"

Recall that the goal of "flattening the curve" was meant to keep hospitals from exceeding their capacity. In his panic to avoid that situation, Governor Cuomo "crushed" the curve by sending thousands of coronavirus-infected patients out of hospitals and into nursing homes and assisted living facilities for the elderly where the infection spread and killed thousands, all while using just a tiny fraction of all the additional capacity that was specifically added to New York's health care system to cope with the epidemic.

9 June 2020: Nursing home groups want Cuomo to scrap staff coronavirus testing policy - It's the reason why nursing home groups want to scrap New York's mandated test regime for their employees that makes this report highly relevant to Governor Cuomo's handling of policies for nursing homes during the state's coronavirus epidemic. In one nursing home cited in the report, all staff members have been tested four times during the last three weeks, as required under Governor Cuomo's policy, but they have yet to see a single result from any of that testing, making all that testing useless for making decisions about how to protect both staff members and nursing home residents from infections.

9 June 2020: New York State Is Not Counting Probable Covid Deaths - Since this article is posted by Gothamist on a page that features frequent updates, you may need to scroll down for the story. Governor Cuomo has adopted a policy that both deviates from the CDC's guidelines and is hiding the full extent of how deadly the coronavirus epidemic has been throughout the state of New York. Since the Cuomo administration appears to be arbitrarily following CDC guidelines, this latest inconsistency blows yet another hole in the governor's claim that his deadly COVID nursing home policy was compelled by CDC guidelines.

10 June 2020: Gov. Cuomo is still failing New York’s nursing homes - Indeed. This is an opinion piece by Elaine Healy, MD, a practicing geriatrician and nursing-home medical director. She picks up on many of themes in the previous entry and emphasizes how arbitrary and often counterproductive the Cuomo administration's policies for nursing homes have been in practice.

11 June 2020: Team Cuomo quietly retreats from yet another nursing-home mistake - Two days after nursing homes pushed back, the Cuomo administration has backed off its ineffective staff testing policies for nursing homes.

11 June 2020: Reopen NY: Governor Cuomo calls no visitation at nursing homes 'better than death' - Showing once again the open hypocrisy of his coronavirus nursing home policies, Governor Cuomo is continuing to prevent family members from visiting their family members in assisted living facilities to keep residents from the risk of being exposed to deadly coronavirus infections. But remember, he and his administration thought it was A-OK to transfer 100% known-to-be-infected patients to those facilities and to allow 100% know-to-be-infected staff members to work at them, which ensured residents would become infected.

12 June 2020: Rep. Steve Scalise questions Dem governors on decision to send coronavirus patients to nursing homes - the move to initiate an independent, federal investigation of what happened in New York's nursing homes and other states' assisted living facilities that copied Governor Cuomo's policies is gaining some steam. This article is also noteworthy in that Representative Scalise updates the death tolls for several states:

"The decision of several governors to essentially mandate COVID positive patients go back to their nursing homes ended up being a death sentence," Scalise said in a briefing for the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. "New York has suffered 6,318 deaths in nursing homes. New Jersey, 6,327. Compare that to Florida -- a retirement state -- 1,454. On a per capita basis, nursing homes deaths in New York are 500 percent higher than Florida and New Jersey is 1,120 percent higher than Florida."

Our analysis of what happened in New Jersey's nursing homes and assisted living facilities is here.

Another interesting note:

Cuomo has defended his directive as in line with guidance from the Trump administration and notes that other states did the same thing. But Scalise noted that the Trump administration changed its guidance in mid-March to caution against sending coronavirus patients to nursing homes "not prepared" to handle the disease. New York's policy remained in place until May 10.

Here is the CDC's original guidance for nursing homes from 13 March 2020. Here is a copy of the guidance that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which is the federal agency that oversees nursing homes, issued on 17 March 2020, which explicitly states the guidance:

What to Do with Residents with Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19 Diagnoses

CMS’s guidance also instructs nursing homes with residents suspected of having COVID-19 to contact their local health department and transfer the affected resident to a hospital if they do not have an airborne infection isolation room and the symptoms warrant such transfer. Nursing homes that are asked to accept residents diagnosed with COVID-19 from a hospital may accept the residents as long as the facility can follow then-current CDC guidance for Transmission-Based Precautions. This guidance is changing rapidly as the CDC learns more about the COVID-19 virus and adapts protocols accordingly. Facilities are advised to continue normal admissions, and if possible, dedicate a unit/wing to serve as a step-down unit where such residents remain for 14 days with no symptoms for any resident coming or returning from hospitals where a case of COVID-19 is/was present.

The Cuomo administration removed the discretion of nursing homes had for accepting known coronavirus-infected patients in its infamous 25 March 2020 directive, disregarding the guidance issued by the federal agency that directly oversees nursing homes.

13 June 2020: New York’s nursing home policy was not fully in line with CDC - This fact check from PolitiFact directly challenges Governor Cuomo's claims that his administration's nursing home policies were fully compliant with the CDC's guidelines. In addition to the guidance we've pointed to earlier in this timeline, they cite the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Report issued a week before the Cuomo administration adopted its policy forcing nursing homes to admit coronavirus patients, which specifically recommended that "in the context of rapidly escalating COVID-19 outbreaks in much of the United States, it is critical that long-term care facilities implement active measures to prevent introduction of COVID-19."

PolitiFact concludes Governor Cuomo's claims his policies followed CDC guidance are "mostly false".

14 June 2020: Watchdog tells feds NY shorted group homes on masks, gowns during height of virus - This report follows the the story of a complaint filed by Disability Rights New York, which it identifies as a "federally funded nonprofit watchdog" on 7 April 2020 regarding how state officials were allocating personal protective equipment among group homes, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities that provide care for disabled residents in New York. Here's an excerpt describing the environment these facilities were put under by the Cuomo administration's policies for allocating scarce resources like personal protective equipment (PPE):

Operators of group homes at the apex of the virus – March through May -- had to scrounge, scouring pharmacies for masks, often paying price-gouging costs, pleading with county disaster offices, and wearing homemade face coverings and disposable protection that sometimes had to be reused, according to interviews with Disability Rights New York, group home operators and their residents’ advocates.

The Cuomo administration appears to have prioritized the interests of public hospitals, which are run by officials appointed by state or local governments, at the expense of all other health care facilities in the state of New York during the state's 2020 coronavirus epidemic, which were apparently viewed as dumping grounds by the state's public health officials. Like the elderly at the state's nursing homes, the disabled are victims of systematic discrimination against them by Cuomo administration.

15 June 2020 - Forecasting for COVID-19 has failed - This analysis on the International Institute of Forecasters blog examines the multiple failures in public policy that have resulted from following poor forecasting models. The following passage is directly applicable to what happened in New York, but certainly applies in other states that aped its policies:

Experienced modelers drew early on parallels between COVID-19 and the Spanish flu [2] that caused >50 million deaths with mean age at death being 28. We all lament the current loss of life. However, as of June 8, total fatalities are ~410,000 with median age ~80 and typically multiple comorbidities.

Predictions for hospital and ICU bed requirements were also entirely misinforming. Public leaders trusted models (sometimes even black boxes without disclosed methodology) inferring massively overwhelmed health care capacity (Table 1) [3]. However, eventually very few hospitals were stressed, for a couple of weeks. Most hospitals maintained largely empty wards, waiting for tsunamis that never came. The general population was locked and placed in horror-alert to save the health system from collapsing. Tragically, many health systems faced major adverse consequences, not by COVID-19 cases overload, but for very different reasons. Patients with heart attacks avoided visiting hospitals for care [4], important treatments (e.g. for cancer) were unjustifiably delayed [5], mental health suffered [6]. With damaged operations, many hospitals started losing personnel, reducing capacity to face future crises (e.g. a second wave). With massive new unemployment, more people may lose health insurance. The prospects of starvation and of lack of control for other infectious diseases (like tuberculosis, malaria, and childhood communicable diseases for which vaccination is hindered by the COVID-19 measures) are dire [7,8].

We think it will take years to fully learn the lessons the flawed coronavirus models have taught.

16 June 2020: “Fire Through Dry Grass”: Andrew Cuomo Saw COVID-19’s Threat to Nursing Homes. Then He Risked Adding to It. - This report starts with the story of a nursing home with 120 residents in upper New York state that went from having no COVID-19 patients, to being forced to admit one patient known to be infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus under the Cuomo administration's policy on 3 April 2020, to recording 18 deaths at the facility from COVID-19 six weeks later. It also tells the story of another nursing home in the same New York county that defied Governor Cuomo's directive and refused to admit any COVID-19 infected patients, which would go on to not record any COVID-19 cases or deaths over the same period and points out the county's hospitals were never at risk of being overwhelmed by the epidemic, making forced patient transfers unnecessary. The report goes on to identify multiple points of failure on the part of the Cuomo administration and describes the developing acrimony as state officials seek to escape accountability.

16 June 2020: As U.S. Nursing-Home Deaths Reach 50,000, States Ease Lockdowns - The Wall Street Journal estimates deaths in U.S. nursing homes account for over 40% of the 116,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the U.S. They also think that's an undercount because of how some states are reporting these deaths. See the entries for 26 May 2020 above for more discussion on that topic as it relates to New York.

17 June 2020: Cuomo silent on who approved coronavirus nursing home policy - This report demonstrates both a lack of candor and transparency on the part of Governor Cuomo concerning how he and his administration came to adopt its deadly coronavirus nursing home policy and follows up ProPublica's "Fire Through Dry Grass" article (see the first 16 June 2020 entry above), which describes the motive of Governor Cuomo and New York's public health officials had, which we'll emphasize here:

And a Columbia University expert, Dr. Charles Branas, told ProPublica that the March 25 directive may have increased the state’s COVID-19 death toll by an as-yet-unknown order of magnitude and cited an Associated Press estimate on the number of coronavirus patients who were admitted to nursing homes as a result of the order.

“If you introduce 4,500 people sick with a potentially lethal disease into a vulnerable and notoriously imperfectly monitored population, people are apt to die,” said Branas, chairman of the Epidemiology Department at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Branas also said the since-abandoned policy “looks like it was intended as a ‘reverse triage’ strategy to clear acute and critical care hospital beds, regardless of whether those beds had people with COVID-19 or not.”

Branas' assessment of the Cuomo administration's motives aligns with our previous analysis, where we described the policy they adopted for the purpose of transferring coronavirus-infected patients from hospitals to nursing homes to avoid overwhelming the hospitals' capacity as an "emergency triage strategy", but Branas' "reverse triage" terminology better and more precisely describes the strategy.

17 June 2020: Cuomo: Coronavirus patients put in nursing homes ‘probably not contagious’ - This report shows the latest gyrations by the Cuomo administration to avoid accountability for deaths that resulted from its "reverse triage" policy of moving coronavirus-infected patients from hospitals to nursing homes to make more beds available in the hospitals. Here, the administration is seeking to blame hypothetical "asymptomatic workers" for both introducing and spreading coronavirus infections in nursing homes, despite the state moving over 4,300 such patients into nursing homes. The report also indicates Cuomo administration officials are now apparently willing to throw New York Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker under the bus in attempting to shift blame away from the Governor's office for issuing the infamous 25 March 2020 directive forcing nursing homes to admit COVID-19 positive patients.

18 June 2020: Op-Ed: Andrew Cuomo: Searching for Scapegoats To Blame for His Deadly Coronavirus Order - This op-ed lists many the individuals and groups who Governor Cuomo has been attempting to blame for the unchecked spreading of deadly coronavirus infections in New York's nursing homes in order to distract from his and his administration's role in the scandal.

19 June 2020: Gov. Cuomo: Criticism of NY nursing home deaths a 'shiny object,' 'pure politics' - This report of a WAMC radio interview Governor Cuomo gave on Friday, 19 June 2020 shows the governor's continuing attempts to avoid accountability in establishing New York's deadly coronavirus nursing home policies. He also blames the federal government and parts of the media for his problems, the latter for focusing on his administration's nursing home scandal.

20 June 2020: Andrew Cuomo’s big lie on nursing homes and The Post - This New York Post editorial calls Governor Cuomo out for his dishonest attempts to deflect blame for his administration's deadly coronavirus nursing home policy, which the governor is trying to make appear to be a partisan effort. As the Post's editors make clear, the news coverage demonstrates that's not the case, which you can confirm for yourself by simply scrolling up and reviewing the stories we've linked throughout our coverage.

21 June 2020: NYS lawmakers still want hearings on Covid-19 nursing home deaths - Although New York's assembly is controlled by Governor Cuomo's political party, there are continuing bipartisan calls for public hearings into the Cuomo administration's policies that led to so many deaths in the state's nursing homes and assisted living facilities. This article notes that many of these deaths fell heavily among minorities.

22 June 2020: In U.S., 1 in 4 COVID-19 Deaths Are Residents of Nursing Homes - Grim statistics from the Associated Press' analysis of federally-regulated nursing homes, which we should point out does not include assisted living facilities that are regulated by state governments (highlighted emphasis ours):

Nursing home residents account for nearly 1 in 10 of all the coronavirus cases in the United States and more than a quarter of the deaths, according to an Associated Press analysis of government data released Thursday.

As federal data collection becomes more robust, a clearer picture is emerging of the ravages of COVID-19 in nursing homes. About 1.4 million older and medically frail people live in such facilities, a tiny share of the American population that has borne a crushing burden from the pandemic. Most residents have been in lockdown since early March, isolated from families and friends, even in death.

Nationwide, nursing homes reported nearly 179,000 suspected or confirmed cases among residents and 29,497 deaths. The latest figures include about 95% of nursing homes.

AP’s analysis of data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that nearly half of the more than 15,000 nursing homes have reported suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of June 7. About 1 in 5 facilities — or 21% — have reported deaths.

The state of New York, which is known to be underreporting COVID-19 nursing home-related deaths in its official count of at least 6,300 deaths, would account for at least 21% of these deaths. New Jersey, which copied New York's deadly coronavirus nursing home policy, adds another 6,180 lab-confirmed deaths to the national total accounts for another 21% of all COVID-19 nursing home deaths in the U.S.

22 June 2020: NY’s Cuomo, NJ’s Murphy ignore request to explain controversial nursing home policies - Both New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy are rejecting requests to testify before the U.S. House of Representative's Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis about the policies their states implemented forcing nursing homes to admit COVID-19 infected patients, claiming the request is "pure politics" and that the committee lacks oversight authority.

We will note that rejecting the requests to testify before Congress will also limit their exposure to legal liabilities that might arise from it.

23 June 2020: Gov. Cuomo blames sick nursing home staffers for infecting residents - This article reports on Governor Cuomo's latest attempt to avoid responsibility for his administration's deadly policies of both forcing New York nursing homes to admit patients without testing to verify if they might be active carriers for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and to allow nursing home staff members known to have been infected to continue working (see the entries for 29 April 2020 above), where they might spread the deadly infection among vulnerable residents. He's also doubled down again on the first policy:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday blamed sick nursing home staffers for infecting residents at the facilities — and doubled down on a controversial state order barring the facilities from turning away coronavirus-positive patients, saying, “It wasn’t a mistake.”

“No, it wasn’t a mistake because … you didn’t want to leave a senior citizen in the hospital for two weeks if you didn’t need to be in a hospital bed for two weeks,” Cuomo said on MSNBC of his Health Department’s widely scrutinized March 25 mandate, which may have fueled more than 6,000 confirmed and presumed COVID-19 deaths in New York.

The governor added, “By the time a person was transferred after nine or 10 days, they were no longer contagious and what all the data says is, the reason you had infections in nursing homes were because the staff brought in the infection.”

“You look at the communities that had the high infection rate overall — those were the communities that had a high infection rate — so it is that the staff got infected. They came to work and they brought in the infection.”

Previous reports have indicated that if a nursing home had a week's supply of personal protective equipment (or PPE) for staff members, meaning masks and gloves, state health officials considered that sufficient to protect both residents and staff members from the potential for infection (see entries for 26 April 2020 and 5 May 2020).

Meanwhile, nursing home staff members are the latest target in Governor Cuomo's political campaign to distract from his administration's leading role in spreading coronavirus infections in New York's nursing homes, where he has previously targeted the CDC, the FDA, the federal government, national and international health experts, nursing home operators, President Trump, Florida, and also the New York Post for blame in the state's nursing home deaths.

25 June 2020: NY governor is ‘alone to blame’ for forcing COVID-positive seniors into nursing homes, feds say - This report describes the response of the White House to Governor Cuomo's attempt to blame them for nursing home deaths that occurred in New York.

25 June 2020: Churchill: On nursing homes, Cuomo won't admit the truth - This op-ed from an upper New York state newspaper weighs in on Governor Cuomo's campaign to deny responsibility for the policies that both endangered and killed so many residents of nursing homes and other assisted living facilities in New York.

25 June 2020: CNN's Chris Cuomo lauds brother in panned interview: 'You're both awful' - This article describes the negative bipartisan reaction to the open display of partisan support favoring Governor Cuomo on CNN, where Governor Andrew Cuomo has been frequently interviewed by his brother during his prime time newscast throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The 24 June 2020 broadcast was the first in which the journalist Cuomo asked the Governor to address any question about his administration's coronavirus nursing home policy scandal. Here's the introduction to the report:

CNN's Chris Cuomo was mocked after lauding his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), during an interview that one media publication called "a close approximation of a campaign endorsement," with the anchor declaring he was "wowed" by the governor's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The failure of CNN to present even a minimal level of professional objectivity in its reporting has damaged the news organization's credibility, with the governor's brother apparently having a large influence over shaping the network's coverage to be as favorable as it can to the benefit of Governor Cuomo, which has become a classic example of how a journalist's clear conflict of interest damages the public interest in addition to the reputation of their organization and the profession.

26 June 2020: New York's Covid nursing home policy was 'a mistake,' expert testifies - This report covers the testimony of Harvard health policy professor David C. Grabowski before the U.S. House of Representatives' Ways and Means Committee's Health Subcommittee. Governor Cuomo has previously rejected requests to testify before Congress about his administration's coronavirus nursing home policies (see the second entry for 22 June 2020).

28 June 2020: Andrew Cuomo: Elderly New Yorkers 'safer' from coronavirus in nursing homes than in own homes - This report covers Governor Cuomo's latest attempt to minimize the negative consequences of his coronavirus nursing home policies. Here, it is important to note that the Governor does not specify if seniors in nursing homes would have safer before he finally terminated New York's directive to force nursing homes to admit both infected and potentially infected patients without testing on 10 May 2020, nor how long after that policy ended before the claim might have become true, nor if he believes the claim might only be true now because his previous policies already killed off the most vulnerable residents in New York's nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

28 June 2020: Two more reports, closely related in covering Governor Cuomo's Sunday morning interview rounds: Gov. Cuomo complains of ‘political heat’ over coronavirus nursing home deaths and Cuomo dodges repeated questions on whether New York nursing homes are safe - Perhaps Governor Cuomo doesn't appreciate that dodging questions doesn't reduce political heat, but increases it instead.

1 July 2020: Gov. Cuomo’s top nursing home regulator to retire after initial postponement - The state regulator who stood by and allowed Governor Cuomo's deadly 25 March 2020 directive to force nursing homes to admit coronavirus-infected patients despite knowing the risk that the infection could run rampant with deadly effect, is leaving his job. Not because he was fired, but because he is being allowed to retire with full benefits. Here's an excerpt from the report:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s chief nursing home regulator was all set to retire at the end of 2019 following a 31-year state career, but agreed to put it off until his replacement could be trained. Then the coronavirus crisis hit.

Now, after more than 6,200 mostly elderly people died in the facilities under his oversight, Mark Kissinger has had enough and is leaving — even though, sources told The Post, Cuomo administration officials can’t find anyone “dumb enough” to take his job.

New York’s nursing homes quickly became breeding grounds for the deadly virus after a March 25 Health Department order mandated they take in COVID-19 positive patients. Kissinger was not involved in crafting that fateful directive, a source said.

“They’re looking to fill Mark’s job, but they just haven’t found anyone dumb enough to take it because this administration has a horrible reputation to work for,” one health care-industry source said.

That says a lot for a job that pays at least $195,000 per year, which nobody appears willing to pursue because of the toxic culture Governor Cuomo has allowed to fester.

2 July 2020: COVID-19 in NY: Department of Health leadership shakeup comes amid pandemic response - The fallout from Governor Cuomo's disastrous coronavirus nursing home policies is starting to claim the jobs of managers in the state of New York's Department of Health. This report looks at several leadership changes that are being announced just ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend. With Friday, 3 July being the observed date for the national holiday, these actions are the equivalent of a Friday news dump for politicians facing scandals who want the announcements to be as little noticed as possible. Make a note of the names of the outgoing personnel involved - these are very likely people we'll be hearing from is the scandal progresses toward legal proceedings.

6 July 2020: NY count: 6,300 virus patients were sent to nursing homes - This reports confirms 1,900 more patients than had previously been reported were transferred from hospitals to nursing homes under the Cuomo administration's 25 March 2020 directive forcing nursing homes to admit these patients without confirming whether or not they were infected.

6 July 2020: New York DOH report says state blameless for nursing home deaths - This report presents a classic example of what can happen when you let foxes guard chicken coops and then perform investigations into whether the foxes had any responsibility for any of the deaths that inevitably resulted. Independent investigations are needed. The report also blames nursing home staff members and family members visiting residents for spreading coronavirus infections in the state's nursing homes, claiming they were infected and spreading the SARS-CoV-2 virus in early March.

If you scroll up to the entry for 12 March 2020, you can find when Governor Cuomo issued a statewide order to block family members from visiting their relatives living in New York's nursing homes, which is still in effect. If you scroll back to 29 April 2020, you will find the story where New York's Department of Health knowingly allowed coronavirus-infected nursing home staff members to return to work.

Finally, if you scroll up to 16 June 2020, you can find the story of a nursing home that defied the Cuomo administration's deadly order forcing nursing homes to admit patients known to be infected with the coronavirus, which then recorded no deaths attributed to COVID-19 during the period where the policy was in effect, unlike all the other nursing homes that did.

6 July 2020: Here's a copy of the New York Department of Health's report preserved at the Internet Archive. It also contains an update of the state's "acknowledged" number of nursing home fatalities associated with COVID-19, which New York's DOH now indicates totals 6,432 and compares against the five worst states for COVID-19 nursing home deaths:

New York Department of Health Report, Appendix C, Five States With Worst COVID-19 Nursing Home Fatalities, 6 July 2020

New York's COVID-19 nursing home death toll is still being understated in the state's official accounting, omitting the deaths of patients who were transferred out of their nursing home residences and subsequently died either in or en-route to New York's hospitals or other facilities, where their deaths are included in the state's overall totals.

7 July 2020: Top Cuomo aide in spat with Rep. Stefanik over nursing home deaths - This report highlights a social media interaction between U.S. Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Governor Cuomo's political aide Richard Azzopardi, but is really about the bipartisan criticism of the New York Department of Health's report absolving itself of all blame in the thousands of coronavirus-related deaths of nursing home residents that complied with its 25 March 2020 directive. Here's an example of that bipartisan criticism from New York Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens):

“What the Department of Health released is nothing more than an industry-backed, corporatist sham of a report designed to scapegoat workers — the front-line heroes of this crisis — for fatal policies created by this administration and its lobbyists,” Kim said.

“My office did not wait until thousands of people died to investigate the nursing home crisis. With only basic due diligence, we uncovered malfeasance and misconduct on a such a scale that an independent investigation by a global entity may be required. This faulty and flaw-ridden report cannot be taken seriously. We will soon be releasing a far more comprehensive, transparent, and honest look at what really happened.”

Cuomo aide Richard Azzopardi responded by attacking Assemblyman Kim:

“Once again, Ron Kim doesn’t know what he’s talking about and apparently doesn’t care about embarrassing himself. The DOH report was peer reviewed by experts at Mount Sinai and Northwell Health and it’s disturbing that this politician is refusing to believe facts, science and dates on a calendar.”

The article indicates that both Mount Sinai and Northwell Health have potential conflicts of interest that could affect their impartiality in the investigation, and thus, their findings, which is why a genuinely independent investigation is warranted. At the same time, anyone who understands the science of deadly viral infections would never have forced coronavirus-infected patients to be placed in facilities, such as nursing homes known to have chronic problems in preventing the spread of infections among their highly vulnerable residents, in the first place. Regardless of how panicked they may have been from flawed coronavirus model forecasts to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed by a projected surge of patients that fortunately never materialized.

As a reminder, the Cuomo administration is having difficulty finding someone willing to accept a job that pays $195,000 per year to oversee nursing homes in the state of New York because of the toxic culture many perceive has been fostered by Governor Cuomo and members of his administration.

8 July 2020: Canada’s “national shame”: Covid-19 in nursing homes - This article on Canada's nursing home deaths attributed to COVID-19 describes the conditions within them that promoted the rapid spread of coronavirus infections, which are similar to those state officials in New York knew existed in nursing homes throughout the state before they began forcing them to admit patients known to have been infected after discharging them from hospitals to free up beds. Remarkably, the article also indicates Canada's nursing homes were the most deadly for the coronavirus in any country.

8 July 2020: No, Gov. Cuomo, New York’s nursing home carnage is your fault: Goodwin - Michael Goodwin, one of the New York Post columnists Governor Cuomo has previously blamed for causing coronavirus deaths in New York's nursing homes, dismantles the Cuomo administration's investigation of itself for its role in spreading coronavirus infections and deaths in state-regulated long term care facilities.

9 July 2020: CNN ignored damning report on nursing home deaths in New York under Gov. Cuomo - This article quantifies how much coverage the story of how many coronavirus-infected patients were discharged from hospitals and subsequently admitted into nursing homes in the state of New York where the infection spread like wildfire during the period where the Cuomo administration deadly directive was in effect received on national news network CNN. The network employs Chris Cuomo, Governor Andrew Cuomo's brother, who has confirmed on air that where reporting on his brother is concerned, "of course, I'm not objective". Since Chris Cuomo is a featured presenter in CNN's regular prime time evening broadcasts, CNN's lack of coverage of impartial facts related to Governor Cuomo's coronavirus nursing home scandal raises questions of the extent to which its editorial decisions are influenced by the Cuomo family as well as the political biases of its editors and reporters.

10 June 2020: Andrew Cuomo’s Report on Controversial Nursing Home Policy for COVID Patients Prompts More Controversy - This report confirms the Cuomo administration's 6 July 2020 fails to answer major, obvious questions regarding the deadly spread of coronavirus infections in New York's nursing homes following the Cuomo administration's 25 March 2020 directive forcing them to admit patients known to have the infection and barring them from testing patients for the coronavirus after they were transferred from hospitals to determine their potential risk to nursing home residents and staff before admitting them.

10 June 2020: NY allowing family nursing home visits for first time since pandemic - After more than four months and thousands of deaths, the Cuomo administration is finally allowing the family members of nursing home residents to visit. While Governor Cuomo claimed the action was to protect nursing home residents from potential exposure to coronavirus infections when the order went into effect on 12 March 2020, it also prevented families from seeing if their relatives were being placed at high risk for exposure to the coronavirus during the pandemic under later policies adopted by the Cuomo administration.

12 June 2020: Andrew Cuomo’s Report On Nursing Home Deaths Marked By Clear Conflicts Of Interest - This report delves into the role that McKinsey, the consulting firm whose analysis and models played a major role in why the Cuomo administration's 25 March 2020 nursing home directive became the state's official policy, had in crafting the DOH report that largely exonerated the Cuomo administration for its role. As such, it adds more fuel to the fire to have a truly independent investigation in this matter.

12 June 2020: Nurses Association joins growing calls for independent nursing home investigation - This report indicates the backlash against New York's Department of Health's attempted whitewash of its role in contributing to nursing home coronavirus deaths is growing. The New York State Nurses Association is a union that has previously endorsed Governor Cuomo's reelection in 2018, but is now citing deficiencies in the DOH's report and calling for an independent investigation of the governor's administration:

On July 6, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) released a report entitled Factors Associated with Nursing Home Infections and Fatalities in New York State During the COVID-19 Global Health Crisis.

This report’s primary conclusion is that “…nursing home workers transmitted the virus unknowingly — through no fault of their own — while working, which then led to resident infections.” This statement does not reflect the experiences of frontline nurses of the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) who throughout were pointing at critical shortages of personal protective equipment and calling for widespread testing in order to guide New York’s response to the virus since the onset of this pandemic....

New Yorkers deserve a full accounting of what happened over the past four months, and the NYSDOH nursing home report, unfortunately, does not move us forward. The need is plain for a comprehensive, independent review of nursing home practices, the role of for-profit operators, and NYSDOH oversight.

The nurses union's statement regarding the state's inadequate response to shortages in the supply of personal protective equipment in New York's nursing homes and other assisted care facilities is backed by contemporary reporting from 22 April 2020, 23 April 2020, 26 April 2020, 5 May 2020, and 14 June 2020.

13 July 2020: NY Senate, Assembly to hold hearings on coronavirus impact, including nursing homes - This report confirms New York's senate and assembly will hold joint legislative hearings on Governor Cuomo's coronavirus nursing home policies on 3 August 2020 and 10 August 2020.

14 July 2020: Blame game? Cuomo takes heat over NY nursing home study - This report covers the continuing backlash against the Cuomo administration's DOH report absolving both the DOH and the Cuomo administration from responsibility for their role in establishing the 25 March 2020 directive that forced nursing homes to admit patients known to have COVID-19 infections, and which also barred the facilities from testing them to determine if their infections were still active. Beyond that, this report also gets into scientific criticism of the DOH's report:

... some accused the state of using the veneer of a scientific study to absolve the Democratic governor by reaching the same conclusion he had been floating for weeks — that unknowingly infected nursing home employees were the main drivers of the outbreaks.

“I think they got a lot of political pushback and so their response was, ‘This isn’t a problem. Don’t worry about it,’” said Rupak Shivakoti, an epidemiologist at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

“It seems like the Department of Health is trying to justify what was an untenable policy,” added Charlene Harrington, a professor emerita of nursing and sociology at the University of California at San Francisco.

In other words, the NY DOH report appears designed to reach a predetermined conclusion. Other epidemiologists who the AP requested review the DOH report raised additional criticisms of its methods and findings, which are detailed below in the following extended excerpt:

But several experts who reviewed the report at the request of The Associated Press said it has fatal flaws, including never actually addressing the effect of the order.

Among the questions not answered: If 80% of the 310 nursing homes that took coronavirus patients already had cases before the order, what was the effect of the released patients on the other 62 homes? If the median number of patients were released into nursing homes for nine days, that means that by the study’s own count more than 3,000 patients were released within nine days. Could they have been infectious?

Denis Nash, an epidemiologist at the City University of New York School of Public Health, also noted that New York’s nursing home death toll doesn’t include nursing home residents who died at a hospital, a “potentially huge problem” that undercounts the virus’ toll and could “introduce bias into the analysis.”

Among the holes in the study highlighted by University of Texas, Houston, epidemiologist Catherine Troisi was a lack of data on what happened at dozens of nursing homes that had no COVID-19 infections before those sick with the virus were sent to them.

“Would this get published in an academic journal? No,” Troisi said.

Shivakoti said he thinks the report may be correct in concluding that the major drivers of the outbreaks were nursing home workers who were sick without knowing it. But that’s not the same as saying the discharges played no role.

“If they didn’t infect other patients directly,” Shivakoti said, “they still could have infected a worker.”

Dr. Mark Dworkin, a former Illinois state epidemiologist, said the finding that people don’t transmit the virus after nine days of illness applies in the population at large, but it’s not clear whether that’s true of nursing home residents who may have weaker immune systems and shed the virus longer. He said the state’s report used “overreaching” language.

“They really need to own the fact that they made a mistake, that it was never right to send COVID patients into nursing homes and that people died because of it,” said Dr. Michael Wasserman, president of the California Association of Long Term Care Medicine.

The DOH report ticks several boxes on our checklist for how to detect junk science, specifically for Goals, Progress, and Inconsistencies.

15 July 2020: Jake Tapper Calls Out Cuomo For ‘Crowing’ About COVID Success Given High NY Death Toll and Cuomo Promotes Tone-Deaf, Self-Aggrandizing Coronavirus Poster On Fallon - Two articles telling much the same story - Governor Cuomo's efforts to take a 'victory lap' despite New York recording the highest coronavirus death toll in the U.S. are not gaining fans in the media.

15 July 2020: Hearing to Examine State's Handling of Coronavirus Nursing Home Deaths - This report is the more significant story of the day, in that it covers the first steps toward an independent investigation of the Cuomo administration's role in contributing to New York's highest in the U.S. coronavirus death toll through its 25 March 2020 directive forcing nursing homes to admit patients with coronavirus infections.

16 July 2020: The Cuomo Administration Hasn’t Said Which Nursing Homes Were Infected With COVID-19 After Its Order Sent Positive Patients Into Them - The New York Department of Health's 6 July 2020 report indicates the state transferred coronavirus infected patients to no fewer than 58 nursing homes that had never previously reported any confirmed cases before the Cuomo administration's 25 March 2020 directive forced these facilities to admit them. This report reveals that neither Governor Cuomo, members of his staff, nor officials with the state's Department of Health have revealed which nursing homes fall within this category, which begs the question of how the Cuomo administration and the NY DOH could make such a claim.

16 July 2020: NY hasn't named nursing homes that accepted COVID-19 patients. But testing data offers new details - The lack of forthcoming information about which nursing homes in the state of New York were forced to admit potentially contagious patients that had been previously treated at hospitals for coronavirus infections isn't stopping some news organizations from digging into the data that is available. This report's "analysis of COVID-19 testing data revealed some nursing homes without infected employees prior to the order later faced serious outbreaks among workers," which suggests the workers were infected after exposure to the coronavirus patients they were forced to admit, which in turn, promoted the wildfire-like spread of coronavirus infections and subsequent deaths among residents at these facilities.

16 July 2020: How McKinsey Is Making $100 Million (and Counting) Advising on the Government’s Bumbling Coronavirus Response - Here's the subhead for the article: "For the world’s best-known corporate-management consultants, helping tackle the pandemic has been a bonanza. It’s not clear what the government has gotten in return." McKinsey consultants played a big role in developing the projection models for hospital capacity in the state of New York that led Governor Andrew Cuomo to panic and start dumping coronavirus patients into New York's nursing homes to mitigate an predicted surge that ultimately failed to materialize.

17 July 2020: Andrew Cuomo's Coronavirus Response Has Been a Failure - This report criticizes Governor Cuomo's effort to take a 'victory lap' given New York's handling of its coronavirus epidemic and lists several of the major mistakes he made that contributed to the state's worst-in-the-U.S. performance.

20 July 2020: NY nursing home vacancies soar during COVID-19 crisis, report shows - This report describes some of the fallout from the epidemic of coronavirus infections in New York's nursing homes that was fostered by Governor Cuomo's deadly 25 March 2020 directive forcing them to blindly admit patients transferred from hospitals where they were treated for the infection. In addition to the 6,400+ COVID deaths that occurred while the policy was in effect, families are especially reluctant to expose their elderly, sick and disabled relatives to the facilities where the governor's policy was implemented.

21 July 2020: Cuomo admits NY made ‘a lot of mistakes’ in coronavirus fight - This is the first time Governor Cuomo has acknowledged any degree of responsibility to the worst-in-the-U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic that we've seen in the media, although he didn't specify what any of those mistakes were.

22 July 2020: Janice Dean: COVID-19 killed my in-laws after Cuomo's reckless New York nursing home policy - The Fox News' meteorologist lost both her mother and father-in-law to the coronavirus epidemic in New York's nursing homes that the Cuomo administration's policies contributed to spreading, calling for a nonpartisan, independent investigation.

23 July 2020: Rand Paul calls for Cuomo to be impeached over coronavirus response - This report covers the comments U.S. Senator and physician Rand Paul (R-KY) made in a podcast interview, which include the following excerpts:

"The people we are lauding are actually making catastrophic decisions," he said.

"I think Gov. Cuomo should be impeached ... for the disastrous decision he made to send patients with coronavirus back to nursing homes. ... Virtually half his people who died were in nursing homes," Paul said on Fox News's "Rundown" morning podcast.

23 July 2020: Clawback on immunity for nursing homes slated for Thursday vote in Albany - This report covers developing legislation in New York's legislature to narrow the scope of immunity Governor Cuomo provided to nursing home operators for coronavirus-related deaths in their facilities back in April 2020. That immunity was provided through a budget bill shortly before news of the rampant spread of coronavirus infections and deaths in New York's nursing homes related to the Cuomo administration's disastrous 25 March 2020 directive broke in the media.

24 July 2020: NY Lawmakers OK Cutting Back Nursing Homes' Legal Protection Amid COVID-19 - This report indicates New York's legislature has passed a measure that "would notably narrow the legal immunity provisions, though it doesn't go as far as some backers originally sought." One of those backers is Assembly member Ron Kim (D-Queens), who had this to say:

“This is a good step in restoring the rights of patients and nursing home residents while also protecting the frontline workers at health care facilities,” said Assembly sponsor Ron Kim, a Queens Democrat who initially proposed a broader repeal of the protections. He said the current version would still hold health care facilities "accountable for failing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or arranging for proper care of COVID patients.”...

The proposal also makes changes that Kim said would allow for some lawsuits over care arrangements, such as hospitals releasing patients to nursing homes unprepared to care for them.

The legislation now goes to Governor Cuomo, who has ten days to either sign the bill into law or veto it, before it might go into effect without his signature.

25 July 2020: Gov. Cuomo Says Criticism Over Nursing Home Deaths Is ‘Politically Motivated’: ‘It’s the New York Post… It’s Fox TV’ - Governor Cuomo continues to blame a portion of the media for the backlash over his administration's disastrous policies to force nursing homes to admit coronavirus-infected patients and without testing to verify if they were contagious, and to allow infected staff members to provide care to nursing home residents during the worst of New York's coronavirus epidemic. The following excerpt provides the context of his latest comments:

Cuomo was asked about the response to the state Department of Health’s report and why he doesn’t just appoint an independent investigator.

The governor said the following:

“I don’t believe your characterization is correct. I believe it is a political issue. I think it’s the New York Post, I think it’s Michael Goodwin, I think it’s Bob McManus, I think it’s Fox TV. I think it is all politically motivated. If anybody looked at the facts, they would know that it was wholly absurd on its face. People died in nursing homes. That’s very unfortunate. Just on the top line, we are number 35th in the nation in percentage of deaths in nursing homes. Go talk to 34 other states first. Go talk to the Republican states now. Florida, Texas, Arizona. Ask them what is happening in nursing homes. It’s all politics.”

From his comments, it appears Governor Cuomo is also continuing to rely on his administration's policies that deliberately undercount deaths related to nursing home-related coronavirus infections to minimize the apparent negative impact of the governor's disastrous policies. Governor Cuomo is also ignoring substantial reporting from left-leaning news organizations, such as ProPublica and left-center outfits such as the Associated Press, both of whose reporting we've featured multiple times in the months since the New York Post originally broke the news of Governor Cuomo's coronavirus nursing home scandal.

27 July 2020: The Power Public Health Officials of New York - This article provides short profiles of three of the more prominent public health officials in New York, all of whom played roles in establishing the policies the state followed during its coronavirus outbreak.

29 July 2020: Healthcare Lobby Holds Sway In Shielding NY's Nursing Homes And Hospitals From COVID-19 Liability - This report reveals the nursing home liability legislation that passed in New York's legislature will not apply retroactively to the period in which the Cuomo administration's directive forcing nursing homes to admit sick coronavirus patients was in effect.

29 July 2020: Nearly all CNY nursing homes still ban visitors because of tough reopening rules - The abbreviation CNY refers to Central New York. The report also describes how a combination of the state government's rules and the inefficiency of New York's current coronavirus testing regime are preventing oversight of the facilities by volunteer ombudsmen:

... ombudsmen, volunteers who advocate for residents, cannot enter nursing homes yet because of lengthy waits for Covid-19 test results. They must get a negative test result within the seven-day period before entering a nursing home.

But it often takes longer than seven days to get test results, making it impossible for an ombudsman who wants to go to work to comply with the rule.

Just imagine how many lives in New York's nursing homes could have been same if the Cuomo administration had applied the same rules for patients transferred to nursing homes after receiving treatment for coronavirus infections under Governor Cuomo's 25 March 2020 directive instead of forcing the nursing homes to admit the infected patients.

3 August 2020: Cuomo official grilled on coronavirus nursing home deaths, secrecy - This report describes the first day of scheduled hearings on how Governor Cuomo and his administration's policies affected the spread coronavirus infections at nursing homes throughout the state of New York. The testimony of state health commissioner Howard Zucker confirms the role that coronavirus models had in shaping the administration's policies and directives affecting the state's nursing homes, but continued evading quantifying the full scope of deaths that resulted from coronavirus infections under those policies:

State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker defended the administration’s response Monday and said officials were worried about projections from global and federal public health experts that New York could have faced a surge of over 100,000 COVID-19 patients at once. He defended his agency’s recent report, which has been panned by academics, claiming that the original March 25 directive was not a “significant factor” in virus outbreaks.

But as the number of infections have plunged and plateaued in recent weeks in New York, lawmakers grew frustrated Monday as Zucker declined to provide key data points sought by Democrats and Republicans, including a rough estimate of how many nursing home residents have died in hospitals of COVID-19.

“I will not provide information that I have not ensured is absolutely accurate,” Zucker said. “This is too big an issue and it’s too serious an issue.”...

But lawmakers said the lack of transparency makes it hard to protect nursing homes during the crisis. They questioned why states like California are providing the kind of data sought by lawmakers and the public.

“It seems that what y’all are doing is just trying to minimize,” said Sen. Gustavo Rivera, Democrat and chair of the Committee on Health.

The lack of transparency from the Cuomo administration official, including identifying which state officials authored the state's controversial 25 March 2020 directive forcing nursing homes to admit infected coronavirus patients, will likely remain an issue.

3 August 2020: NY Rolls Back Legal Immunity for Hospitals, Nursing Homes - Governor Cuomo signed legislation restricting liability for non-COVID care at hospitals and nursing homes, undoing some of the immunity protection the governor sought and obtained in an April 2020 budget bill.

4 August 2020: Pence rips Andrew Cuomo's 'poor decisions' on pandemic that led to nursing home deaths - This report describes U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's critical comments on Governor Cuomo's performance during the coronavirus pandemic, in which he notes that "1 in 5 of all the American lives that have been lost in the coronavirus pandemic were lost in the state of New York, and some of that was because of poor decisions by the state and by Gov. Cuomo".

4 August 2020: N.Y.C. Health Commissioner Resigns After Clashes With Mayor Over Virus - This report covers the sudden resignation of one of the three "power public health officials of New York". The chips may be beginning to fall, though this particular chip may be specific to New York City.

8 August 2020: Rising heat on nursing homes - This editorial slams the Cuomo administration's lack of transparency in fully quantifying the number of deaths that resulted from coronavirus infections at New York's nursing homes during the period where administration's 25 March 2020 directive forcing nursing homes to admit infected patients was in effect.

10 August 2020: Why did they die? Questions that need to be answered as the state continues probing coronavirus nursing home fatalities - This editorial focuses on questions the Cuomo administration is seeking to dodge answering at hearings underway in the state legislature.

10 August 2020: Janice Dean: NY Democrats Stopped Me from Testifying at Nursing Home Hearing - Meteorologist Janice Dean's in-laws were exposed to the coronavirus in New York's nursing homes during the period the Cuomo administration's 25 March 2020 directive was in effect and subsequently died from the viral infection. She was scheduled to testify at state legislature hearings scheduled today, but has been blocked from testifying by members of Governor Cuomo's political party.

11 August 2020: Cuomo rejects calls for independent nursing home investigation, report says - This report describes Governor Cuomo continuing efforts to obstruct an independent investigation from being conducted into his administration's coronavirus epidemic nursing home policies.

11 August 2020: The Outrageous Reason NY Dems Stopped Janice Dean from Testifying at Monday's Nursing Home Hearing - This article follows up the story of how members of Governor Cuomo's political party blocked Fox News' meteorologist Janice Dean from testifying to the state assembly's joint committee meeting investigating the state's nursing home policies.

11 August 2020: New York’s true nursing home death toll cloaked in secrecy - This report describes the stonewalling the Cuomo administration is using to prevent the full extent of coronavirus-related nursing home deaths in New York during the period its deadly 25 March 2020 directive was in effect from becoming known to the public. The report indicates the state's official total, which Governor Cuomo has frequently used to try to favorably compare New York's performance to other states, really represents a significant undercount of the actual total of cases.

P.S. The Associated Press' analysts project New York's real nursing home COVID death total could be in the ballpark of 11,000, quite a lot higher than the 6,400 that Governor Cuomo's administration has officially reported. AP's higher estimate assumes the average percentage of coronavirus-related nursing home fatalities recorded in all other states is the 44% reported in an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

11 August 2020: Local Officials Say a Nursing Home Dumped Residents to Die at Hospitals - This report describes how at least one New York City nursing home dumped its coronavirus-infected patients at hospitals where they subsequently died during the period when Governor Cuomo's disastrous 25 March 2020 directive was in effect. New York's official statistics do not include these deaths in its count of coronavirus-related deaths at the state's nursing homes.

12 August 2020: New York State health leader gives no answer on nursing home deaths - Howard Zucker, New York's top public health official, continued stonewalling on reporting the true number of nursing home deaths in New York during testimony before a joint coronavirus review committee of New York's legislature.

12 August 2020: Churchill: The number Andrew Cuomo doesn't want you to know - This op-ed describes how differently New York is counting the number of coronavirus-related deaths from other states to keep its official count low.

12 August 2020: NY Health Commissioner Dismisses Media Reports of PPE Shortages - Cuomo administration member Zucker also sought to deny the state failed to ensure nursing homes had adequate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect staff and residents against coronavirus infections, contradicting multiple media reports (just scroll up) during the state's coronavirus epidemic.

12 August 2020: Relatives Of Nursing Home Residents Speak Out At Hearing - families of nursing home residents who died during the state's coronavirus epidemic point to the Cuomo administration's 25 March 2020 directive as a primary reason for their elderly, sick relatives becoming infected by the deadly virus.

12 August 2020: Cuomo: Independent probe of nursing home deaths unneeded - Governor Cuomo continues trying to choke off calls for an independent investigation of his policies' role in contributing to New York's worst-in-the-U.S. coronavirus-related death count.

14 August 2020: Don't let Cuomo hide from his coronavirus nursing-home disaster - This opinion piece by Business Insider's Daniel L. Fisher directly contradicts Governor Cuomo's claim that criticism of his coronavirus nursing home policy is partisan and notes other contradictions in the governor's hostility toward an independent investigation of his administration's actions. Here's a key observation:

If he's certain his administration made no mistakes in ordering nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients, Cuomo should stop hiding and let the truth speak for itself in the form of an independent investigation.

Governor Cuomo's arguments against independent investigations of his administration's policies and actions during the coronavirus pandemic are not those of someone who truly believes their actions will stand up to serious scrutiny.

18 August 2020: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo book on Covid-19 response out in October - Governor Andrew Cuomo will receive another boost from the media to try to sell his story of how he handled the coronavirus epidemic in New York state. Unfortunately for him, other, more honest parts of the media recognize he is actively engaged in peddling fiction, as can be seen in the following excerpt that concludes this particular article:

Cuomo has received some of his strongest criticism for the thousands of virus-related deaths at New York nursing homes. A recent AP investigation found that the state's death toll of nursing home patients, already among the highest in the nation, could be significantly more than reported. Unlike every other state with major outbreaks, only New York explicitly says that it counts just residents who died on nursing home property and not those who were transported to hospitals and died there.

So far, Cuomo's administration has declined to release the number. The governor has called criticism of nursing home deaths politically motivated.

The claims of a man now trying to sell a book.

19 August 2020: Cuomo brushes back AP report of care home death undercount - Governor Cuomo is fighting back against the Associated Press' 11 August 2020 analysis that adds thousands more to the state's official total number of nursing home deaths attributed to COVID-19. The governor hasn't explained why the state is stonewalling media and state legislature requests for data on deceased nursing home residents during the state's coronavirus epidemic.

20 August 2020 - Lawmakers Need An Accurate Accounting Of What Happened In Nursing Homes - This editorial notes the growing bipartisan support for an independent investigation of the Cuomo administration's policies and their role in contributing to coronavirus nursing home deaths.

21 August 2020 - If Cuomo won’t allow outside review of NY nursing home COVID-19 horror, he admits guilt - The New York Post's lays down the stakes for what Governor Cuomo's potential veto of a bipartisan bill in the state legislature to establish an independent investigation into the governor's 25 March 2020 coronavirus directive that exposed thousands of nursing home residents to fatal infections.

26 August 2020 - Department of Justice Requesting Data From Governors of States that Issued COVID-19 Orders that May Have Resulted in Deaths of Elderly Nursing Home Residents - This press release from the U.S. Department of Justice indicates that Governor Cuomo (New York), along with Governor Phil Murphy (New Jersey), Tom Wolf (Pennsylvania), and Gretchen Whitmer (Michigan) and their administrations will be investigated for their coronavirus nursing home admission policies. Here is an extended excerpt:

Today the Justice Department requested COVID-19 data from the governors of states that issued orders which may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan required nursing homes to admit COVID-19 patients to their vulnerable populations, often without adequate testing.

For example, on March 25, 2020, New York ordered: “No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to [a nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. [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.”

“Protecting the rights of some of society’s most vulnerable members, including elderly nursing home residents, is one of our country’s most important obligations,” said Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division Eric Dreiband. “We must ensure they are adequately cared for with dignity and respect and not unnecessarily put at risk.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, New York has the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States, with 32,592 victims, many of them elderly. New York’s death rate by population is the second highest in the country with 1,680 deaths per million people. New Jersey’s death rate by population is 1,733 deaths per million people – the highest in the nation. In contrast, Texas’s death rate by population is 380 deaths per million people; and Texas has just over 11,000 deaths, though its population is 50 percent larger than New York and has many more recorded cases of COVID-19 – 577,537 cases in Texas versus 430,885 cases in New York. Florida’s COVID-19 death rate is 480 deaths per million; with total deaths of 10,325 and a population slightly larger than New York.

The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division is evaluating whether to initiate investigations under the federal “Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act” (CRIPA), which protects the civil rights of persons in state-run nursing homes, among others. The Civil Rights Division seeks to determine if the state orders requiring admission of COVID-19 patients to nursing homes is responsible for the deaths of nursing home residents.

On March 3, 2020, the Attorney General announced the Justice Department’s National Nursing Home Initiative. This is a comprehensive effort by the department, led by the Elder Justice Initiative and in strong partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that uses every available tool to pursue nursing homes that provide substandard care to their residents.

Here is the press release announcing the DOJ's National Nursing Home Initiative, which in being issued on 3 March 2020, clearly predates any of the coronavirus-motivated policies implemented in these states. The DOJ's announcement follows our 19 August 2020 analysis of the correlation of total deaths in each of these states with the timing of when their coronavirus nursing home forced admission policies were in effect. These are the only four states that adopted and sustained such admission policies for an extended period of time, which is why the DOJ is specifically demanding information from them.

For New York, we view this announcement as a major step toward a badly needed independent investigation of this situation, since Governor Cuomo and his administration have been stonewalling lawmakers and media demands for information about nursing home residents who died during the state's coronavirus epidemic.

30 August 2020: Cuomo can’t hide from his nursing home coronavirus calamity (opinion) - This opinion piece by Staten Island columnist Tom Wrobleski succinctly describes New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's political strategy to avoid responsibility related to his administration's coronavirus nursing home policies during the last several months:

Ask Gov. Andrew Cuomo about the tragic number of deaths we saw among New York nursing home patients during the coronavirus pandemic, and he’ll shout that you’re playing politics.

The governor obviously believes that if he pushes back loud and often enough on the issue, critics will either start to believe him or will be cowed into silence.

But Cuomo can’t bully his way out of this one. There are too many families who have lost loved ones and who want answers.

There are too many New York lawmakers, Democrats included, who know that launching a real investigation is the right thing to do.

Wrobleski also tears apart elements of the various defenses Cuomo has offered during the past several months using examples of the Governor's contradictions that may not be well known outside New York.

31 August 2020: Cuomo Calls Nursing Home Probe Politically Motivated - This article covers Governor Cuomo's continuing campaign to avoid independent scrutiny of how his administration's policies affected the spread of COVID-19 in New York's nursing homes and subsequent coronavirus-related deaths in those facilities by claiming calls for third party investigation are partisan politics.

1 September 2020: Cuomo admin accused of stonewalling over COVID-19 nursing home death tally - This report covers the Empire Center for Public Policy's effort to obtain data from the Cuomo administration that quantifies the full death tally of nursing home residents from the coronavirus. The government watchdog group reveals the state is sitting on far more data related to COVID-19 nursing-home related infections and deaths and rejects its claims that it cannot make the records available until November 5, 2020, two days after upcoming statewide elections:

“The state Health Department is offering a new explanation for why it won’t provide the full death toll of coronavirus in nursing homes: it can’t find the records,” said Bill Hammond, a health analyst for the Empire Center who submitted the legal request for the data in early August.

In a response letter sent to Hammond on Monday, the department said it could not yet fulfill the request “because a diligent search for relevant documents is still being conducted.”

“We estimate that this Office will complete its process by November 5, 2020. The Department will notify you in writing when/if the responsive materials are available for release or if the time needed to complete your request extends beyond the above date,” said the department’s record access officer, Rosemary Hewig.

The independent, nonpartisan, and non-profit organization indicates the state's Health Department's claim is disingenuous and describes how out-of-the-ordinary it is:

The delayed compliance in releasing information in response to legal requests has been a common practice of government agencies, with officials often saying they are still conducting a “diligent search” for records.

“In this case, however, a search of any kind should not be necessary,” Hammond said in a blog post.

He said the department’s Health Emergency Response Data System (or HERDS) has required nursing homes to file daily reports throughout the pandemic — including counts of all residents who die from coronavirus, both within the facilities or hospitals or elsewhere.

“Those numbers are the basis for the partial count that the department does make public – which stood at 6,639 as of Aug. 29, but omits potentially thousands of residents who died in hospitals,” Hammond said.

Hammond said the “unusual methodology” is used by few if any other states and gives the public a “distorted picture of the pandemic.”

We think that given these circumstances, the failure of Governor Cuomo's administration to respond in a timely manner to the group's request for the public information under the state's Freedom Of Information Law, can legitimately be claimed to be stonewalling.

2 September 2020: Team Cuomo’s latest ridiculous nursing-home-death dodge - This editorial takes on the Cuomo administration's claim that it cannot locate the records related to nursing home COVID-19 infections and deaths until two days after the state's upcoming elections. It also confirms that New York's Health Insurance Commissioner testified before state legislators that he had all the information back on 3 August 2020.

6 September 2020: ‘The gov killed Nana’ banner flies over NYC, LI beaches to troll Gov. Andrew Cuomo - We didn't expect there would be much new information on this story over Labor Day weekend, but this one surprised us. Someone hired a small plane to tow a banner over New York City and the beaches of Long Island with the statement "THE GOV KILLED NANA" written on it. Follow the link to the story to see the mobile phone video of the plane in flight.

Here's an excerpt from the report describing how the trolling flight was received:

One Rockaway beachgoer told The Post the plane flew by around 4 p.m. as observers stopped to take pictures and applauded the message.

“The people were going crazy,” the beachgoer said. “[Cuomo] is nothing but a liar, condescending and miserable person. His carelessness caused the death of a lot of people unnecessarily.”

9 September 2020: Andrew Cuomo going off the rails under the stress of NY’s pandemic woes - Governor Cuomo has recently ramped up his campaign of evasion of responsibility to now blame President Trump for the coronavirus arriving in the U.S. This editorial takes Governor Cuomo to task for that claim and other poorly considered actions.

10 September 2020: Nursing Home Scandal Undercuts Cuomo's Covid Boasts - This op-ed recounts how COVID-19 became a runaway killer in New York's nursing homes under the policies of Governor Cuomo's administration and notes the bipartisan criticism of his actions to cover their results.

11 September 2020: In Worst-Hit Covid State, New York’s Cuomo Called All the Shots - This report dives into how the decisions for which Governor Cuomo has full responsibility contributed to making New York the worst-hit state for the coronavirus pandemic.

13 September 2020: Protesters call on Andrew Cuomo to take responsibility for nursing home deaths and demand families be able to visit patients - This report covers a protest by a "couple dozen" protestors outside Governor Cuomo's Manhattan office.

14 September 2020: Foiling transparency: The Cuomo administration leans on an old excuse to withhold information on COVID deaths - This editorial describes how the Cuomo administration uses loopholes in the state's Freedom of Information Laws to stonewall requests for public records.

15 September 2020: Cuomo relaxes COVID-19 nursing home restrictions amid protests - This article reports on the lifting of some of Governor Cuomo's more odious restrictions his administration imposed that have prevented family members from visiting their relatives in New York's nursing homes since March.

16 September 2020: Sen. James Tedisco pressures Cuomo to disclose COVID-19 nursing home deaths - This article describes the growing bipartisan calls for the Cuomo administration to stop stonewalling the release public records related to the governor's nursing home scandal as several state politicians have teamed up to launch a petition drive for an independent probe of the Cuomo administration's actions.

18 September 2020: The Hospital Lobbyists Behind Cuomo's Nursing Home Scandal - The report explores Governor Cuomo's relationship with a nursing home lobbyist group.

23 September 2020: 50 Days later: Still waiting on number of nursing home patient deaths in NY - On 3 August 2020, New York State Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker testified he would release public records related to the number of patients at New York nursing homes who were transferred to hospitals and subsequently died. This editorial notes that the Cuomo administration official has taken no action since to provide any of it to the public.

24 September 2020: State Senate seeks full accounting of COVID-19 nursing home deaths under Cuomo - This article reports on "separate pieces of legislation from both sides of the aisle" that seek to get a true accounting of the coronavirus death toll in New York's nursing homes, overturning the "loophole" Governor Cuomo's administration is using to minimize the tally.

25 September 2020: Inspections Found Nursing Home Lapses as COVID-19 Raged in NY - This report blows the lid off any claims the Cuomo administration did not know that nursing homes were failing prevent patients and staff from spreading coronavirus infections during the period of time Governor Cuomo's deadly 25 March 2020 directive forcing nursing homes to admit coronavirus patients was in effect.

25 September 2020: Two Officials Charged for 'Deadly Decision' at Holyoke Soldier's Home - The "two official charged" are former Superintendent Bennett Walsh and former Medical Director David Clinton of the Holyoke Soldiers' Home in Massachusetts. Under their direction, the 247-bed Massachusetts government-run facility for poor, sick veterans deliberately mixed coronavirus-infected and non-infected patients in close proximity, ensuring COVID-19 would spread among the vulnerable, non-infected patients and staff like "fire through dry grass", ultimately leading to 76 patient deaths.

Their decision has been described by Massachusetts' prosecutors as reckless. In practice, it is virtually indistinguishable from what occurred in New York's nursing homes under the Cuomo administration's 25 March 2020 directive to force nursing homes in their jurisdiction to blindly admit coronavirus-infected patients without any testing to verify whether they were still infectious, which contributed to New York's worst-in-the-nation COVID-19 death toll. The criminal charges filed in Massachusetts illustrate the kind of legal liability risk that Governor Andrew Cuomo and members of his administration face in New York, which contributes to their motives to stonewall the release of public records documenting what happened in New York's nursing homes while their 25 March 2020 was in effect and to either prevent or obstruct independent investigations of it.

2 October 2020: 'It never happened': Cuomo denies causing 6,500 nursing home deaths - This report describes Governor Andrew Cuomo's latest tactic to try to distance himself from his administration's disastrous coronavirus nursing home policies: bald-faced denial.

2 October 2020: Facts First: Gov. Cuomo falsely claims New York nursing homes 'never needed' to take in Covid-positive patients - News network CNN, which employs Governor Cuomo's brother in a prominent prime-time editorial role and which has frequently provided Governor Cuomo with a "safe space" to advance his agenda, responded to the Governor's latest claim with a fact check, finding his claims to be false.

2 October 2020: Andrew Cuomo is shamelessly trying to memory-hole his coronavirus nuring home fiasco - This opinion column homes in on a possible motive for Governor Cuomo's latest claim: "It's no surprise that Cuomo continues to dismiss concerns over the nursing home fiasco. He's got a reputation to protect." It also notes that he has a book coming out in less than two weeks, where the continuing scandal of the governor's nursing home scandal will contradict his claims of effectively leadership.

3 October 2020: Andrew Cuomo's latest nursing home deception - The New York Post's editorial board weighed in here on the Governor's latest public relations tactic of making false claims and attempting to rewrite history to hide the role of Governor Cuomo's policies in contributing to coronavirus deaths among New York's nursing home residents.

13 October 2020: Cuomo blames GOP, NY Post for controversy over nursing home COVID-19 deaths - Governor Cuomo has written a book, which is hitting bookstores this month, in which he claims his political opposition and the newspaper that broke the story for the nursing home deaths that occurred while his 25 March 2020 directive forcing nursing homes to admit patients known to carry coronavirus infections without any testing to verify if they were still contagious was in effect are the ones responsible for the ensuing scandal. That would be the ongoing scandal for which his administration is stonewalling both bipartisan calls for independent investigations and for a full accounting of coronavirus-related deaths among the state's nursing home residents.

This report is also significant because it sets an upper estimate of 13,000 on the total number of COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents in New York, based on the number of unfilled beds those facilities have today. Governor Cuomo and his administration have only officially acknowledged approximately 6,700 deaths at this time.

13 October 2020: Today show interview between Governor Andrew Cuomo and Willie Geist - This interview is significant in that after denying the existence of his administration's 25 March 2020 directive to force nursing homes to blindly accept COVID patients without testing to determine if they were still contagious, which we archived here before New York's Department of Health later scrubbed it from their web server in May 2020, he is now also denying the reason why he signed off on the policy:

"Would my Health Department have followed the federal guidance? Obviously not, knowing the political issue it was going to create. But there was no issue in reality is what I'm saying... because we never did have a scarcity of beds. We always had additional hospital beds and emergency beds, so no nursing home was forced to take someone. We never got there."

Here's a link to that portion of the video of the interview.

Based on his contemporary statements and actions from late March through early May 2020, we think it is clear he did not believe that was true at the time. If he and other officials in his administration had really believed there was no issue with a scarcity of beds at the time, the 25 March 2020 directive would never have been issued.

14 October 2020: Cuomo's book on NY pandemic outbreak short on state missteps - This AP report finds Governor Andrew Cuomo's book "American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic" is short on new information, especially regarding mistakes made by his administration.

16 October 2020: Churchill: Failings of Cuomo's new book outweigh its charms - Times Union columnist Chris Churchill gives his take on Governor Cuomo's untimely coronavirus book release, finding the governor's book isn't telling anything close to the truth of what happened in the state. Here's a short sample of the review:

In the book, Cuomo cites a discredited state report blaming employees for introducing the virus to nursing homes. He suggests nursing homes didn't actually take in COVID patients, though his own health department says more than 6,300 were transferred to them.

Worse, he uses a bogus number to falsely claim, once again, that New York ranks low in the percentage of overall deaths tied to nursing homes.

As many of you know, the state's official nursing home tally of more than 6,600 fatalities is a significant undercount that excludes residents who ultimately died in hospitals. Other states don't count nursing home deaths that way, and, despite numerous requests and even a lawsuit, Cuomo has refused to release the honest number.

And you won't find it in his book.

17 October 2020: Cuomo's claim on nursing home deaths not whole story - PolitiFact rates Governor Cuomo's 30 September 2020 claim that "we're No. 46 out of 50 states... we're 46th in terms of percentage of deaths in nursing homes" as "Mostly False". In giving the claim such a positive assessment, PolitiFact is showing its political bias in weirdly giving credit to the Governor for citing statistics that reference the state's official figures, which is really strange because those figures are widely viewed as greatly understating the COVID death toll among those who resided at New York's nursing homes in 2020. PolitiFact also ignores the Governor's role in stonewalling bipartisan calls for both independent investigations and the release of deceased nursing home patient data.

18 October 2020: Churchill: The continuing quest for truth about NY's nursing home deaths - Another Chris Churchill column, which includes a discussion with Bill Hammond, the director of health policy for the Empire Center for Public Policy. The Center filed a lawsuit in the past week seeking public data records New York's health department has collected on COVID-19 illnesses and deaths among patients who resided in New York nursing homes in 2020 and has been refusing to provide to all those filing freedom of information requests for it:

Notably, the lawsuit does not even mention the controversial March 25 state order directing nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients. And when I talked with Bill Hammond, the Empire Center's director of health policy, he said too much has been made of the mandate by some critics of the governor. He was being very fair.

Hammond also said he initially didn't think the state's flawed nursing home count mattered all that much. That changed when he saw Cuomo and other officials using the partial count to suggest, in response to criticism of the mandate, that New York had done better at protecting nursing home residents from COVID-19 than other states.

"That drove me up a tree," Hammond told me. "They said it over and over again fully knowing it wasn't true."

Then Hammond watched in dismay as the Department of Health used the undercount in a joke of a report (my words, not Hammond's) that claimed the March 25 order was not a factor in nursing home fatalities. The report was not only bad science, but troubling evidence of the health department being used to shine the governor's star.

According to New York's official count, 6,600 nursing home residents died of COVID-19. Hammond, after analyzing death and nursing home occupancy rates, puts the actual toll at 10,000 and up — equal to at least 10 percent of the state's nursing home population.

"That is a public health catastrophe," Hammond said. "It demands our absolute attention, so we understand how we could have prevented it and what we can do to prevent it next time."

Hammond's estimate of total coronavirus nursing home deaths is consistent with the lower end of the range we've seen in the past several months.

18 October 2020: Protesters Rally in Brooklyn, Blame Cuomo for Thousands of Nursing Home COVID-19 Deaths - This article features the following observation from one of the protestors:

"Any pandemic plan, which we spent a billion dollars on here in New York, would say 'protect the most vulnerable population,' first thing you do. Here's the most vulnerable population—nursing homes, like Cobble Hill Health Center. And we didn't do that. In fact, we did just the opposite,” said one demonstrator.

18 October 2020: Casket outside Brooklyn nursing home filled with 6,500 covers of Cuomo’s book - The 6,500 book covers represent the state's official count of COVID nursing home deaths, which most honest observers indicate is several thousand short of the full toll.

The protestors also faulted Governor Cuomo for stonewalling an independent investigation of his administration's coronavirus nursing home policies:

But Brooklyn protest organizer Peter Arbeeny griped at the rally — where about a dozen people added photos of their lost loved ones to the casket — that Cuomo “hasn’t given us an independent investigation [into the alleged nursing-home debacle] so we can get to the truth.

“The families in front of you deserve to know the truth,” said Arbeeny, whose 89-year-old Korean War veteran father, Norman, was among the at least 56 people to die from COVID-19 at the Brooklyn facility.

23 October 2020: Coronavirus Book: How Many Nursing Home Residents Died in New York - ProPublica's analysis delivers some pretty brutal observations:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s latest book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic,” went on sale this month. Its publisher has hailed the governor’s courageous honesty.

“Real leadership, he shows, requires clear communication, compassion for others, and a commitment to truth-telling — no matter how frightening the facts may be,” one bit of advertising for the book reads.

Here’s one hard truth Cuomo has still yet to tell: how many New York nursing home residents have died of COVID-19.

Nine months into the pandemic, and three months after his health commissioner testified that he was hard at work counting nursing home deaths, Cuomo has not announced the grim total.

The article indicates the Cuomo administration transferred some 6,400 COVID-19 patients from hospitals to nursing homes in New York without testing to confirm whether or not they might still be contagious. It is quite possible a similar number of nursing home patients who became infected by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus introduced by these patients were moved in the opposite direction to hospitals where they died.

We think that avoiding political accountability and legal liability for those deaths is the most plausible explanation for Governor Cuomo's screaming silence on that subject in his book.

25 October 2020: Hospitals gave Gov. Andrew Cuomo a campaign booster shot: Devine - Miranda Devine's opinion column reviews OpenTheBooks' audit of campaign contributions to Governor Cuomo, in which the nonpartisan fiscal watchdog describes a pay-to-play relationship between contributors and the Governor. Devine focuses on the 'in-kind' support provided by the Greater New York Hospital Association.

When the pandemic hit in March, the association successfully lobbied the Cuomo administration to transfer COVID-positive patients to nursing homes to relieve pressure on hospitals.

Despite warnings from doctors that the move represented “a clear and present danger” to other nursing home residents, Cuomo issued his directive March 25, while federally provided beds in the Javits Center and USNS Comfort hospital ship mainly lay empty.

As we now know, the directive was a death sentence for an estimated 15,000 nursing home residents.

With the move proving to be a legal and public-relations nightmare, the association again struck gold when it lobbied for a budget provision limiting the ability of COVID-19 victims to file malpractice suits against hospitals and nursing homes.

Well satisfied with its investment in the governor, the association then spent millions on TV advertising that praised Cuomo’s management of the pandemic.

You could call the ads a quid pro Cuomo.

28 October 2020: Justice Department ramps up inquiry into NY care home deaths - This reports describes the DOJ's expanded effort to get the nursing home coronavirus data it requested, which the Cuomo administration has been stonewalling on providing.

The U.S. Justice Department vastly expanded an inquiry Wednesday that could determine whether New York is undercounting coronavirus deaths among nursing home residents, demanding detailed data from hundreds of private facilities.

The demand ratchets up pressure on Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo after months of bipartisan criticism that the state’s official tally of 6,722 dead at long-term care facilities is probably off by thousands. That’s because New York, unlike nearly every other state, counts only residents who died on a nursing home’s property and not those who died after being taken to a hospital.

Cuomo’s administration has repeatedly refused to release such nursing home data to lawmakers and the media, including a public-records request from The Associated Press dating back to May.

This step indicates how seriously this matter is being taken by the DOJ, which will now dedicate more resources to its investigation. In refusing to cooperate with the DOJ's request for information within a reasonable period of time, the Cuomo administration has all but ensured this action, as the DOJ will no longer rely upon administration officials to obtain the information its independent investigators seek.

2 November 2020: Cuomo’s data dodge: The governor needs to share New York’s actual nursing home COVID-19 death total - The editorial board of the New York Daily News opens up about their frustration with the Cuomo administration's stonewalling efforts.

Gov. Cuomo and the state Health Department are still failing to deliver on months' old promises to release the true tally of nursing home residents killed by COVID. The fact that some seeking the data have political motives is no excuse for stonewalling.

The official nursing home toll stands near 6,700 New Yorkers. But that only includes residents who died inside nursing homes, not the potentially thousands more who died after being transferred to hospitals.

The missing figures haven’t made legitimate questions disappear. Instead, the stalling only damages the credibility Cuomo and state health officials earned by capably handling the virus. Cuomo’s mantra-like repetition that New York ranks low among states in nursing home deaths as a share of total deaths, when he well knows that a fuller death count could change that statistic, is disappointingly disingenuous.

7 November 2020: Back on 1 September 2020, the Cuomo administration indicated it would make the state's coronavirus-related data on nursing home residents available to the public on 5 November 2020. No data was released on that date, nor has any data been released as of this update. Governor Andrew Cuomo's "disappointingly disingenuous" stonewalling continues.

12 November 2020: 100 Days later: Still no answers on nursing home patient deaths in NY - WRGB Albany's Greg Floyd marks the passage of 100 days since the Cuomo administration promised to make its coronavirus-related data on New York's nursing home residents available to the public:

It was back on August 3 that Commissioner Zucker was grilled at a legislative hearing by lawmakers of both parties about the directive and the department’s lack of transparency.

While we know that more than 6,600 residents died inside nursing homes, what we don’t know is how many nursing homes residents were sent to hospitals and died there. Democrats and Republicans are demanding that DOH release those figures, but DOH refuses to do so. Dr. Zucker promised frustrated lawmakers that he would reveal the numbers, but not until he was satisfied they were accurately compiled. Weeks ago Governor Cuomo provided a glimmer of hope when he said “It's not like there's a back room anywhere here, where we go back and we look at numbers and secret data. Whatever I know, I tell New Yorkers. Whatever the factors are, I tell New Yorkers.”

Immediately after that statement we contacted the Governor’s office, asking again for the full nursing home numbers, but our request was not answered.

So that brings us to today – we have started what we call the Zucker Counter, to track the total number of days the Commissioner has refused to release the numbers. The Zucker Counter now stands at 100 days – it will keep spinning until we get the numbers New Yorkers are waiting to hear.

How high will the "Zucker Counter" rise before Governor Cuomo acknowledges the extent of the coronavirus nursing home tragedy that occurred while his administration's 25 March 2020 directive was in effect?

18 November 2020: RAISE A STINK ‘Highest-paid governor’ Andrew Cuomo set to get $25,000 raise despite nursing home scandal & NY’s mixed Covid response - Governor Cuomo is set to get a raise, even though New York's state government revenues have plummetted and the Cuomo administration's continuing nursing home death scandal.

18 November 2020: COVID-19 Outbreak Recorded at Nursing Home - A new outbreak of at least 10 people associated with a nursing home in Montgomery County, New York (in the Mohawk Valley region of the state) has been reported.

19 November 2020: Cuomo is obliterating his own (undeserved) COVID hero myth - The media is beginning to notice that Governor Cuomo's evasive and combative behavior in recent press conferences is aimed at obstructing their efforts to get information about state government policies.

20 Novdmber 2020: Not just COVID: Nursing home neglect deaths surge in shadows - This article explores nursing home deaths beyond COVID-19, with some startling findings pointing to failures of both ethics and oversight. Starting with excess deaths:

A nursing home expert who analyzed data from the country’s 15,000 facilities for The Associated Press estimates that for every two COVID-19 victims in long-term care, there is another who died prematurely of other causes. Those “excess deaths” beyond the normal rate of fatalities in nursing homes could total more than 40,000 since March.

These extra deaths are roughly 15 percent more than you’d expect at nursing homes already facing tens of thousands of deaths each month in a normal year.

The analysis was provided the University of California's Institute of Aging's Stephen Kaye, who also found that many of these excess deaths took place at nursing homes where COVID-19 ran rampant:

Comparing mortality rates at homes struck by COVID-19 with ones that were spared, Kaye also found that the more the virus spread through a home, the greater the number of deaths recorded for other reasons. In homes where at least 3 in 10 residents had the virus, for example, the rate of death for reasons besides the virus was double what would be expected without a pandemic.

That suggests the care of those who didn’t contract the virus may have been impacted as healthcare workers were consumed attending to residents ill from COVID-19 or were left short-handed as the pandemic infected employees themselves.

Official state policies like New York's 25 March 2020 directive that forced nursing homes to blindly admit COVID-19 patients without testing to determine whether or not they were still contagious amplified the situation described above. The death toll associated with the directive is therefore greater than the number of deceased nursing home residents who tested positive for COVID-19.

The article also cites the state-mandated prohibition on visits by family members, which contributed to a deterioriating level of care provided to nursing home residents. Since family members both provide additional care for residents and take action to prevent neglect when observed, their state government-mandated absence ensured that the declining quality of care in these facilities went undetected. Governor Cuomo provided a shield of legal immunity for neglect to New York's nursing homes operators, many of whom are counted among his campaign contributors, during the pandemic.

21 November 2020: Andrew Cuomo To Receive International Emmy For 'Masterful' COVID-19 Briefings - The International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences broke with all precedent to provide a sitting politician Governor Andrew Cuomo with a public relations boost by awarding the Governor for his coronavirus broadcasts, despite the Governor's ongoing lack of transparency and candor regarding coronavirus-related deaths of nursing home residents under his administration's policies. Pulitzer prize award winning journalist Walter Duranty, who viewed and concealed Josef Stalin's Ukrainian genocide by starvation in the 1930s, could not be reached for comment.

21 November 2020: 'Best Actor?': Andrew Cuomo slammed after announcement he will receive Emmy Award for coronavirus leadership - The report describes some of the reaction to Governor Cuomo's Emmy award.

27 November 2020: Ex-aide Alexis Grenell rips Gov. Andrew Cuomo in blistering essay - The "ex-aide" in question is currently a media and political consultant, who worked for Andrew Cuomo when he served as New York's Attorney General prior to being elected Governor. This very much represents a "blue-on-blue" attack, following the governor's outburst at a press conference in the previous week. Here's a sample from her commentary that appeared in The Nation:

The Andrew Cuomo New Yorkers know and mostly tolerate, the snarling attack dog who gaslights fellow Democrats and deploys staff to call his female critics ‘f—-g idiots,’ dropped down to Earth last week. It was a hard landing after a long-distance love affair with a fanbase in a galaxy far, far away.

In the middle of one of his now Emmy Award–winning (apparently for using “television to inform and calm people around the world”) Red Room press conferences, the governor blew a gasket. The trouble started when Jimmy Vielkind from The Wall Street Journal asked the obvious question that every New York City public school parent wanted to know: Will schools be open tomorrow? Cuomo’s months (years, really) of pissing all over Mayor Bill de Blasio have naturally caused confusion over who owns this loser of a decision, compounded by the fact that the city (3 percent) and state’s (2.5 percent) data on infection rates don’t align. So rather than give a straight answer, the self-described “cool dude in a loose mood,” threw a Trump-style tantrum....

Cuomo undeniably offered a vision of competent, humane government at the height of the crisis, but this is who he is the rest of the time. It’s why he and his staff reflexively insult anyone who criticizes his handling of the pandemic or insists on returning to the normal system of democratic governance as Jefferson envisioned it. People like the relentlessly honest Bill Hammond from the Empire Center for Public Policy, who’s currently suing the administration to force it to disclose the real number of Covid-related nursing home deaths (“yet another publicity stunt from an arm of the far-right advocacy industrial complex”). Or Assembly member Ron Kim for suggesting that the governor acted against the public interest in letting his state be one of the two that grant hospitals and nursing homes broad corporate immunity (“politically motivated”). Or Democratic and Republican lawmakers who want to curtail the governor’s emergency powers after granting them in March, and return to their role as a co-equal branch of government (“stupid” and “completely political”).

Perhaps unsurprising given what Grennell describes of Andrew Cuomo's character, the Governor faces increasing pressure to own up to the negative elements of his administration's performance during the coronavirus pandemic. Politics abhors the vacuum created by blatant hypocrisy, and Governor Cuomo's pandemic book promotion and Emmy award have flooded New York's political atmosphere with it.

4 December 2020: Cuomo: NY will opt into fed plan to vaccinate nursing home residents, staff - New York will participate in a Trump administration program aimed at vaccinating the elderly, sick Americans most at risk of death from coronavirus infections. The state is expected to have enough vaccine to treat some 170,000 people within the next two weeks.

5 December 2020: How NYC nursing homes are preparing for vaccine distribution - This article revisits statements made by Governor Cuomo prior to his administration's implementation of its 25 March 2020 directive forcing nursing homes to admit coronavirus patients without knowing whether they were still contagious:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo famously described COVID-19 in nursing homes as “like fire through dry grass.”

That's why there is such relief that nursing homes are at the top of the list for getting the Pfizer vaccine in mid-December.

“I can’t begin to tell you what a relief it is that there is a date on the calendar that this pandemic is going to be over,” Scott LaRue, the president of ArchCare, told PIX11 News.

And for the residents of Mary Manning Walsh and five other nursing homes run by the New York Catholic archdiocese, the date is Wednesday, Dec. 16. That’s when the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine is expected to be distributed to 1,700 Archcare residents and their 3,000 caregivers, pending final FDA approval.

And Scott LaRue is so pleased that the infrastructure is in place for a seamless, on-site distribution.

“Our pharmacy that serves our nursing homes was actually selected in addition to Walgreens and CVS as one of the distribution centers for the vaccine.,” LaRue told PIX11 News.

Nice to have some positive COVID-related nursing home news from New York for a change!

10 December 2020: How Andrew Cuomo's Executive Order Trapped My 89-Year-Old Mother in COVID Limbo for Weeks - This article describes how Governor Cuomo's 10 May 2020 executive order, which reversed his administration's catastrophic 25 March 2020 order, is also having harmful outcomes.

16 December 2020: NY GOP asks Trump to force Cuomo to reveal number of COVID nursing home deaths - Governor Cuomo's and his administration's continud stonewalling on releasing New York's public data on the number of New York nursing home residents who became infected with and died of COVID-19 during 2020 is prompting this action.

23 December 2020: On 3 August 2020, New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker pledged to release the state's data on the number of nursing home residents who became infected with and who died of COVID-19 during 2020. Neither Zucker nor anyone else in Governor Cuomo's administration including Governor Cuomo has lifted a finger to make the state's public data on these deaths available to the public in the 142 days since.

30 December 2020: Nursing home death toll remains elusive, but it is certainly higher than official total - This is article from the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle tries to work out the COVID-19 nursing home death toll in Monroe County and finds the state is underreporting the deaths, which they place at 50% of all COVID deaths in the county since March 2020. Using the state's "official" tally of nursing home resident deaths, the percentage of COVID-19 deaths statewide is 20%.

3 January 2021: Ex-FEMA honcho blasts vaccine rollout, nursing home deaths - This article covers a lot of ground, but here's the key summary where the topic of New York's COVID-19 nursing home deaths is involved:

In an exit interview with The Post, Tom Von Essen, who served as the New York regional director of the Federal Emergency Management and was city Fire Commissioner during the Sept. 11 attacks, slammed the nation’s early response to the coronavirus pandemic, the slow pace of vaccine distribution — and called New York’s nursing home death toll its “biggest failure” in the crisis.

The article also reports the Cuomo administration's response to his comments:

Responding to Von Essen’s criticism, Cuomo spokesman Peter Ajemian said, “The reason Von Essen no longer has a job is because the federal government’s COVID response was so awful that his boss was overwhelmingly voted out.

“He can do as many exit interviews as he wants but none of them will change the fact that over 350,000 Americans died as a result of the Trump administration’s incompetence and failure to implement a coherent plan.”

The Cuomo administration's efforts to shift the blame for COVID-19 deaths among the New York's nursing home residents following the implementation its disastrous 25 March 2020 directive are apparently continuing into the new year.

5 January 2021: Cuomo's book touting 'leadership' during pandemic released just before huge spike in COVID cases, pundit notes - New York has had one of the larger fall/winter surges of coronavirus cases in the U.S. This article features a chart to put the timing of Governor Cuomo's self-authored book publication into perspective:

New York: Number of Coronavirus Cases from June 1, 2020 to January 4, 2021 - Source: FNC - https://www.foxnews.com/media/andrew-cuomo-coronavirus-leadership-book

6 January 2021 - Team Cuomo’s latest nursing-home hypocrisy - The lead paragraph to this article describes the Cuomo administration's glaring hypocrisy:

How rich: The state is fining nursing homes for missing deadlines to report data — by as little as a minute — while it has withheld its own figures on nursing-home COVID deaths for months.

The article also indicates the state's acknowledged COVID-19 nursing home death toll has risen with the state's latest surge.

The death tally is officially around 7,400, but the true number could be twice that because New York, unlike other states, doesn’t count nursing-home residents who died in hospitals. The state does keep track of the total, but it won’t release it. Which is outrageous. And inexcusable.

12 January 2021: - This article from the Times-Union reports on the status of their Freedom Of Information Law (FOIL) request to obtain the New York state government's public data on the COVID-19 deaths of nursing home residents.

After months of furor from mourning families, the administration of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo issued a report in July absolving itself of blame for thousands of COVID-19-related deaths at nursing homes in New York.

Although Cuomo portrayed the findings as definitive proof, six months later, his administration is refusing to back up the findings by providing copies of the records that were the basis of the report’s conclusions. In response to a written request from the Times Union, the administration last week cited exemptions in the state Freedom of Information Law which the Department of Health contends allows the agency to keep the records secret....

On the day the report was issued, the Times Union filed a Freedom of Information Law request for copies of the surveys filled out by nursing homes. But the Cuomo administration refused to provide copies of completed surveys — and also would not turn over blank copies showing the survey questions. A Department of Health spokesman, Gary Holmes, refused to say why the department was refusing to provide blank copies.

The Times-Union explains why the Cuomo administration's failure to back up the findings of its DOH report by releasing the data on which it claims to have based it upon is problematic:

A major assertion in the report is that the peak day of nursing home resident deaths came six days before the peak day for admission of COVID-19 patients from hospitals to nursing homes.

That timing demonstrates that the state's controversial admissions' policy “could not have been the driver of nursing home infections or fatalities,” the report concluded. The findings assert that if re-admissions of sick or recovering patients to nursing homes had been the driver, the peak deaths would have occurred after before the memo's issuance, not before.

But there’s also no publicly available data providing independent verification that the “peak” of admissions occurred on April 14. Similarly, the report’s assertion that deaths peaked in nursing homes on April 8 cannot be verified.

It's a fair bet that the data does not support the Cuomo administration's findings absolving itself of responibility for nursing home deaths related to its 25 March 2020 directive forcing nursing homes to blindly admit patients who had been treated for coronavirus at New York's hospitals. This hypothesis would explain the Cuomo administration's efforts to continue delaying the release of the data and also their ongoing efforts to 'scrub' the data they will ultimately release to minimize contradictory evidence.

13 January 2021: Cuomo still refuses to disclose total number of COVID-19 nursing home deaths: watchdog - This article describes the latest evolution in the Cuomo administration's stonewalling:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration is again refusing to release the total number of nursing home residents who’ve died from the coronavirus for at least another two months — until March 22 at the earliest, a watchdog group charged.

In a letter to the Empire Center for Public Policy on Wednesday, the state Health Department claimed that it needs another nine weeks and five days to comply with the legal request for a full accounting of nursing home deaths “because the records potentially responsive to your request are currently being reviewed for applicable exemptions, legal privileges and responsiveness.”

The Empire Center submitted its FOIL request on Aug. 3 seeking the total number of COVID-19 nursing home fatalities — those who died in nursing homes and those who were ill and died after being transported to hospitals.

The state health department's review for "available exemptions, legal privileges and responsiveness" means that when the data is finally made public, it will not reflect the total number of COVID-19 deaths experienced by New York's nursing home residents during 2020. But is releasing the numbers the state has in its records really that difficult?

The answer to that question is "No. It's not difficult at all."

A nursing home industry insider also said he was baffled by the delay.

“The DOH has minute-by-minute data of nursing home deaths. The state’s delayed response defeats the purpose of the Freedom of Information Law,” the source said.

In fact, DOH has fined nursing homes for being tardy in submitting daily reports that include data on coronavirus cases, leaving it open to charges of failing to practice what it preaches.

That would appear to be the Cuomo administration's legal modus operandi.

13 January 2021: Cuomo Delays Releasing Nursing Home Data for Two More Months - This press release from the Empire Center's normally easy-going Bill Hammond describes exactly what is wrong with the Cuomo administration's continuing failure to release all the data the state of New York has collected on COVID-19 related deaths of nursing home residents:

It could not be more clear that the state is illegally hiding basic information about a public health crisis. The department’s excuses are an insult to the intelligence of every New Yorker, and the Cuomo administration’s stonewalling makes a mockery of the public’s right to know. It’s increasingly evident that the state will not release these records until compelled to do so by the courts.”

The Empire Center is currently awaiting a ruling from state Supreme Court Judge Kimberly O’Connor, and has been since 30 October 2020.

Image credit: unsplash-logoMartin Sanchez

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