By Duncan Smith

During a press conference on Sunday, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, “Older people, vulnerable people are going to die from this virus, despite whatever you do.”

He went on to say that no one should be “prosecuted” for the state’s outsized coronavirus death rate in nursing homes and eldercare facilities.

Of course, he would say these things. He’s responsible for the deaths.

Reports have noted for weeks now that Cuomo’s state health officials mandated in March that nursing homes take coronavirus-infected patients, despite knowing that older people are more prone to both catching the disease and, importantly, dying from it.

Stephen Hanse, the president and chief executive officer of the New York State Health Facilities Association and the New York State Center for Assisted Living, blasted the policy in April.

“This puts nursing home providers in a really precarious position,” he said. “If you want to do everything to protect your residents and staff, your hands are tied.”

“Whoever made this decision, whoever did this, I consider this a sentence of death for all the older patients, whoever is in a nursing home,” Mina Ebrahem, 31, a physical therapist in New York City who had been sent to a number of nursing homes last month, all of which were accepting COVID-19 patients, told The New York Times.

Asked about the decision last month, Cuomo played dumb. “It’s a good question,” he said. “I don’t know.”

A day later, Cuomo reiterated the nursing homes had to accept coronavirus patients, but only if they do so safely.

But then he said this April 23 about nursing homes accepting coronavirus patients.

“They don’t have a right to object. That is the rule and that is the regulation and they have to comply with that,” Cuomo said. “And the regulation is common sense: if you can’t provide adequate care, you can’t have the patient in your facility and that’s your basic fiduciary obligation — I would say, ethical obligation — and it’s also your legal obligation.”

‘Common sense’? The one thing we’ve known about coronavirus from the outset is that it adversely and disproportionately affects and kills older people. But sticking coronavirus patients in nursing homes with older people is “common sense.”

Until it isn’t.

A week ago, Cuomo reversed the “common sense” rule, but not before thousands of people died in New York nursing homes based on a mandate issued by his government.

Now he’s saying, hey, no one should be prosecuted for it.

But it gets better: New York health officials have been purposely undercounting nursing home coronavirus deaths after quietly changing reporting rules.

This is criminal negligence at best. At worst, what Cuomo and other governors have done in requiring coronavirus patients to be sent to live with our most vulnerable is murder.

The New York Post’s Michael Goodwin notes:

At least 28,000 residents and workers in long-term care facilities already have died from the ­virus, according to a New York Times analysis done more than a week ago. That represented one out of every three COVID-19 deaths recorded in the United States at the time and was likely an undercount because of reporting lags and varying state methods.

This massacre of a helpless population shames America and Washington must find out why it happened and who is responsible. Elderly people in these institutions could not protect themselves, and because most states banned visitors early in the outbreak, the institutions, their regulators and elected officials were fully obligated to shield them against infection.

They failed miserably. …

Gov. ­Andrew Cuomo of New York and Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey issued almost identical orders in late March requiring nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients being discharged from hospitals. The orders barred the homes from even asking if the patients had the virus, lest they be discriminated against.

Those politically correct orders quickly became death sentences as infections spread like wildfire.

Cuomo and Murphy both had the same information as Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, whose coronavirus policies were aimed specifically at protecting eldercare residents. And it worked.

So Cuomo and Murphy “can’t say they weren’t warned,” Godwin wrote, adding:

On March 8, Dr. Thomas Frieden, former head of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote on CNN that “nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are ground zero.” On March 18, the CDC, in a study of the nation’s first large outbreak, in a nursing home in Kirkland, Wash., told health officials, “Substantial morbidity and mortality might be averted if all long-term care facilities take steps now to prevent exposure of their residents to COVID-19.”

Just days later, Cuomo and Murphy issued their orders.

In reality, there ought to be prosecutions for these decisions. Either way, voters in New York and New Jersey should get rid of these two clowns at the earliest possible election.

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