Gov. Cuomo will never be confused with Fiorello La Guardia. “When I make a mistake, it’s a beaut,” the legendary mayor of New York once confessed.
Unfortunately, Cuomo’s pride and political calculations don’t allow him to admit error even as he finally reverses one of the mostly deadly policy mistakes in New York history.
Nursing homes and rehabilitation centers have tallied more than 5,000 coronavirus deaths, yet the governor accepts zero responsibility despite his March 25th order forcing them to take infected patients from hospitals.
Now he says they no longer have to do that, announcing Sunday that “a hospital cannot discharge a person who is COVID positive to a nursing home.”
Indeed, the initial order denied nursing homes the right even to ask if patients being sent by hospitals had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Now hospitals must do discharge tests and only those who are negative can be referred to nursing homes.
Said one nursing home executive, “It feels at least a month too late.”
The move comes amid growing calls for an independent investigation of the nursing home catastrophe, where the death count dwarfs the total deaths in every other state except New Jersey.
Still, Cuomo claims the reversal is not a reversal, nor is it a recognition of the fatal impact of the initial order.
“Whatever year ’re doing has worked, on the facts,” he insisted.
He should try selling that view to Maria Porteus. She lost her father, Carlos Gallegos, to the coronavirus in a Long Island nursing home last month soon after the state forced it to accept infected patients. She watched the governor Sunday and was left steaming.
“I’m still angry and I’m still hurt,” she said. “It’s a slap in the face for him because he’s not taking responsibility for what happened to my father and so many others.”
Porteus said she’s part of a Facebook group that has nearly 250 members who lost loved ones in nursing homes, adding: “The stories are all almost the same. And Cuomo’s still acting like he’s not the one who did this order, like it’s somebody else or it’s the nursing homes’ fault.”
Arlene Mullin, who lost her father under similar circumstances, also was unhappy with Cuomo Sunday. She said in an e-mail:
“In light of how many mothers lost their lives, it was distasteful to use his press conference as a tribute to his mother. He could have called her privately to wish her well on Mother’s Day. It was insensitive to those people whose mothers died in nursing homes due to his cruel policy.”