More than 4,300 recovering coronavirus patients were sent to nursing homes in New York under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s directive to free up hospital beds during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report.
A report from the Associated Press states that since Cuomo’s March 25 directive, which was in place until it was rescinded on May 10, over 4,300 coronavirus-infected elderly patients were discharged from hospitals and sent to “New York’s already vulnerable nursing homes.”
The directive to send recovering COVID-19 patients to nursing homes is speculated to have been a significant contributor to the more than 5,800 nursing and adult care facility deaths in New York. During Cuomo’s coronavirus news conference on Friday, the Democratic governor was not asked by the media about the AP report that was published hours earlier.
Earlier this month, the New York state health department added more than 1,600 new deaths to the total number of people who have died from COVID-19 in nursing homes. Last week, the New York State Department of Health acknowledged that it only reported coronavirus deaths from long-term care patients who died while physically present at their facility.
Other states with the highest death tolls from nursing homes and long-term care facilities are New Jersey with over 5,500 deaths, over 3,700 in Massachusetts, more than 2,800 in Pennsylvania, 2,200 in Connecticut, over 1,900 in Illinois, and California had more than 1,700, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and California also have or had directives that forced nursing homes and long-term care facilities to accept recovering COVID-19 patients.
Michigan also has a similar directive, but the state has not released its nursing home deaths. WDIV-TV reports that 29.7% of Michigan’s COVID-19 deaths were from Metro Detroit nursing homes. The site also reported that there are 1,157 nursing home and long-term care facility deaths from three counties: Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne.
A New York Times report from May 11 found that nursing home and long-term care facility deaths of residents or workers account for 35% of all U.S. COVID-19 deaths. Research from the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity said that nursing homes and assisted living facilities made up for 40% of all coronavirus deaths, despite accounting for only 1.6% of the U.S. population.
“It was the single dumbest decision anyone could make if they wanted to kill people,” Daniel Arbeeny said of New York’s directive. Arbeeny told the AP that he withdrew his 88-year-old father from a Brooklyn nursing home where more than 50 people died. His father would later die of the coronavirus at Arbeeny’s home.
Cuomo has refused to accept any responsibility for the nursing home deaths in his state, and even blamed President Donald Trump for the fatalities.
“Anyone who wants to ask why did the state do that with COVID patients and nursing homes, it’s because the state followed President Trump’s CDC guidance,” the Democratic governor told reporters this week. “So they should ask President Trump.”