There’s an old quotation to the effect that if you tell a lie that’s big enough and repeat it often enough, people will begin to believe it.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo certainly seems to believe that there’s truth to be found in that statement. He’s definitely acting like he does.
In the wake of a series of scandals pertaining to the reporting of data on COVID-related nursing home deaths in New York, Cuomo has finally had to come out to do damage control.
Speaking about the scandal on Monday, February 15, Cuomo appeared to make a few token admissions and mild mea culpas, but on the whole, he denied responsibility for what happened, saying he was working in a “toxic political environment” and insisting that nursing home deaths were “accurately reported.”
Cuomo Attempts Damage Control
The attorney general for New York, Letitia James, released a report that showed Cuomo may have understated the death toll in his state that resulted from his nursing home policy by as much as 50%. New York’s health commissioner, Howard Zucker, has said that the true figure might be over 15,000.
These deaths happened because Cuomo gave the order for New York nursing homes to admit COVID-positive patients, despite the fact that the elderly are among those most at risk of death and serious complications from the virus.
To make matters worse, one of his secretaries, Melissa DeRosa, had recently confessed to a group of Democratic state lawmakers that the Cuomo administration had deliberately hidden the true nursing home death toll from them because it feared a possible DOJ investigation.
That confession comes in the wake of other reports that health officials in Cuomo’s administration were frustrated over the fact that he ignored their advice and chose to coddle hospital lobbyists instead when crafting his pandemic policies.
Speaking on these matters on Monday, Cuomo insisted, despite the findings of his own attorney general, that all information in the nursing homes and in the hospitals was always “fully, publicly and accurately reported.”
To those complaining that the administration refused to provide them with COVID death statistics despite their repeated requests, Cuomo had this to say: “Everyone was busy. Everybody was here every day. We’re in the midst of managing a pandemic. There was a delay in providing the press and the public all that additional information. There was a delay.”
When asked about how his policies may have led to elevated nursing home deaths, Cuomo has consistently blamed President Trump. He has always claimed to be following the guidelines of the federal government, guidelines that he was never compelled to follow. Cuomo continued to blame Trump on Monday, insinuating that he had created a “toxic political environment” and that there were “conspiracy theories” and disinformation to contend with.
The basic facts are clear, though. Cuomo ordered sick people into nursing homes, caused thousands of deaths, lied about their extent, and continues to make excuses even now.