New York was the hardest-hit state when the coronavirus pandemic began in the United States in March 2020. While many dark days lasted weeks, Governor Andrew Cuomo was celebrated when the number of cases fell and New York seemed to have the worst of the pandemic behind them. However, it has since then been brought to light that he covered up many deaths, particularly from nursing homes, to make the numbers look better in the eyes of the public.
The FBI is investigating the decision-making and attempting to get to the bottom of exactly how many nursing home deaths should have been recorded compared to the number of deaths that were reported. A bedsore lawyer is experienced in discovering negligence on the parts of nursing homes and staff members, but this situation goes far beyond nursing home negligence. Governor Cuomo’s actions bring more questions than answers, but everyone wants to know the answers.
How Politics Shaped Decision-Making
In the spring of 2020, Governor Cuomo put into effect a state requirement that made nursing homes take back any of their residents who had recovered from COVID-19. The logic behind this was to ensure the hospitals did not get overwhelmed by other COVID-19 patients, but the result actually created more problems than anything for nursing homes.
Governor Cuomo was forced to ask questions about the number of nursing home deaths related to COVID-19 since the number seemed much lower than reality. While he denied this statement last summer, Cuomo has since acknowledged that the reported number of deaths was higher than indicated because of the fear that President Trump’s administration would use the unfavorable data for political gain.
Cuomo’s March 2020 Nursing Home Policy
To date, New York leads all states in the number of deaths in employees and residents of nursing homes related to COVID-19. The number stands around 15,000 with a total of more than 170,000 related deaths across the United States. Cuomo’s policy to send nursing home residents back to the nursing home after recovering from COVID-19 at the hospital drew a lot of criticism. The problem with the reporting of the death numbers is that the state’s count only included people who died from COVID-19 while inside the nursing home. If anyone was transported to a hospital from a nursing home and died in the hospital, the death was not to be considered nursing home related. As many people figured out after hearing this, the actual number of deaths could be different by large numbers in the thousands.
Covering Up Death Numbers
The Health Department developed a report showing the actual number of deaths in nursing homes related to COVID-19. The number they came up with was roughly 50% higher than what Governor Cuomo’s administration publicly reported. The problem is many of Governor Cuomo’s advisors were working to reduce the number and edit the report so it didn’t look as bad publicly. The reason used for removing a large number of the deaths was because the Health Department couldn’t confirm that the deaths were a result of the person being in the nursing home. Many of the decisions that Governor Cuomo made since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic have appeared to be politically motivated. And the data surrounding the number of nursing home deaths is inaccurate as a result.
Changes To Nursing Home Policies Are Necessary
The New York State Office of the Attorney General Letitia James published a report of preliminary findings following a lengthy investigation into COVID-19-related deaths in nursing homes. During stressful times when family members could not visit their loved ones in the nursing homes, sometimes the only way they could check on them was through a bedsore attorney in Brooklyn. The investigation by the Office of the Attorney General Letitia James found that many more nursing home residents died from COVID-19 than public data reflected. The preliminary findings even concluded that “Lack of compliance with infection control protocols put residents at increased risk of harm during the COVID-19 pandemic in some facilities.”
The report also states that the requirement to admit COVID-19 patients back into nursing homes could have put other residents at a serious risk of contracting the virus. As a result, some of the data has been obscured and did not allow experts to assess the magnitude of the risk.
Nursing homes have long been the subject of investigations by any bedsore lawyer in the Bronx, NY because of their regular practices. While there are plenty of other issues surrounding how Governor Cuomo handled the COVID-19 pandemic, investigations into exactly how nursing home staff members were treated can’t go unnoticed either. In many cases, nursing homes were tied to the policies and government orders forced upon them. However, blatantly covering up information is not acceptable by anyone, and the offenders should be held accountable.
Sinel & Olesen, PLLC is watching the developments of the investigation of Governor Cuomo and nursing homes closely. We are your bedsore lawyer ready to take action on your behalf if you believe you or a loved one were not treated fairly at a nursing home throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an ongoing investigation with new facts presented periodically, so contact us if you have any specific questions about your case.