New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke to reporters on Wednesday and blamed Donald Trump's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for his state's nursing home deaths, Breitbart reported. The deaths, which came after a March directive that allowed patients who tested positive for coronavirus back into facilities, have drawn Cuomo considerable criticism for his handling of the pandemic.
"I'm not going to get into the political back and forth, but anyone who wants to ask why did the state do that with COVID patients and nursing home, it's because the state followed President Trump's CDC guidance," Cuomo said to a reporter who pressed him on the executive order. "So they should ask President Trump. I think that will stop the conversation."
A second reporter noted that Cuomo has shown comfort in defying Trump in the past. He asked the governor why he chose to follow CDC guidance in March, and if he regrets the decision to do so.
"No, not at all," Cuomo said.
"I mean, considering the death toll?" the reporter asked.
Cuomo suggested his decision was made due to the lack of hospital capacity at the time. He noted that it can take up to two weeks for patients to test negative, suggesting that it wasn't the best use of such facilities to have them wait for this period of time for testing results. The 62-year-old politician also noted that nursing homes in the state are not allowed to accept patients they are not equipped to handle and claimed that the state has alternative beds for facilities who can't take on a new patient.
"We never got to a place where we were bumping up against the capacity. So any nursing home could just say, 'I can't handle a COVID person in my facility.'"According to Times Union, over 5,800 New York nursing home and adult care residents have died from COVID-19 as of Tuesday. Cuomo's handling of the coronavirus crisis in nursing homes has pushed a delegation of federal Republican lawmakers from the state to call for an investigation into the process. In addition, the New York State Senate Republican Conference called on the governor and the state Department of Health to take responsibility for the nursing homes instead of passing the blame to others.
According to Jim Clyne, president and CEO of LeadingAge New York, which represents nonprofit nursing homes, his members did not have enough personal protective equipment and faced roadblocks when attempting to restock via supply chains.
"And I don't think that was a reflection on the state necessarily," he said, adding that people were caught off guard both by shortages and the difficulty in restocking supplies.