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Nursing Home Deaths

What You Should Know
By Councilman Rev. Ruben Diaz

“God didn’t do that, fate didn’t do that, destiny didn’t do that”, but your actions did do that Governor Cuomo: The Staggering Number of New York’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Deaths happened because of your policies and under your watch.

You should know that responsibility for the staggering number of COVID-19 deaths in New York’s nursing homes can only lay at the feet of Governor Andrew Cuomo. While earlier this month Governor Cuomo refused to credit God for the reduction in statewide COVID-19 numbers, let’s hope that he won’t try now to blame God for his nursing home mismanagement and thedreadful consequences brought upon them.

You should know that an editorial titled “The fix is obviously in on Cuomo’s ‘investigation’ of nursing-home horrors” in the April 25, 2020 print edition of the New York Post states the following:

“News that Team Cuomo ignored warnings about the nursing-home disaster only confirms that the gov.’s call for an investigation is pure deflection. He’s trying to make care facility owners the fall guys for the state’s choices.

…. The real investigation should be into why Zucker insisted on sending coronavirus-positive patients to nursing homes, when it’s been clear from the start that the elderly are most at risk from the virus.

The same New York Post page contains scathing Letters to the Editor’s section under the title: Cuomo’s Callous Response to Nursing Home Deaths. THE ISSUE: Gov. Cuomo’s comment that it wasn’t the state’s job to provide PPE to nursing homes. Heartbreaking letters include the following:

“Nursing homes didn’t solicit coronavirus patients. Cuomo ordered these facilities to take them. Overwhelmed and ill-equipped to protect a highly vulnerable population, coronavirus nursing-home deaths soared.

“I was shocked to see how seemingly callous and dismissive an elected official could be, especially since some 3,500 nursing-home residents have lost their lives. The governor’s job should be to protect the elderly and those compromised because of underlying health issues.”

“It’s a disgrace what New York did by forcing nursing homes to take COVID-19 patients that have been treated and released from hospitals. We’re told that people who are elderly with underlying conditions are susceptible to the virus. That’s someone’s mother or father in these facilities. The state is sacrificing them.”

My dear reader, the blame for these alarming deaths should not be placed on the shoulders of the frontline workers in our nursing homes. Most people who work in nursing homes do so out of a real sense of purpose and mercy to help our vulnerable elderly in need of care and attention. Nursing home workers are exhausted. In too many cases they remain unprotected and without the proper PPE equipment. They deserve our heartfelt support and prayers.

It is important for you to know that in the most recent State Budget, Governor Cuomo included within it a section packaged within the Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act to shield health care facilities or professionals from liability, civil or criminal, for harm and damages as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

It is outrageous to know that after statutorily shielding nursing homes from liability, which Governor Cuomo must have had in mind, he then mandated hospitals to send COVID-19 patients to unprepared and understaffed nursing homes. While these nursing homes in the past would have declined to accept infected patients in their facilities, now with immunity these same nursing homes could accept infected patients without liability concerns.

Ladies and gentlemen, as we continue to grieve the loss of so many of our loved ones in nursing homes, as part of our democracy we must continue to hold our elected officials accountable.

Aside from taking curtain calls, Governor Cuomo in his ownwords must take responsibility and admit that “God didn’t do that, fate didn’t do that, destiny didn’t do that”, but his own actions, and schemes did do that.

I am Councilman Reverend Rubén Díaz, and this is what you should know.

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