Maybe You CAN Fool All Of The People—80% Anyway: The Andrew Cuomo Anomaly

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo really does have “blood on his hands,” but thanks to the news media coverage, the public doesn’t seem to care.

In March, Cuomo, already overseeing the state that is the one U.S. local where the Wuhan virus could then be accurately described as out-of-control, adopted the policy of forcing nursing homes to take in elderly residents who were infected.

The edict horrified  many medical authorities.  Health experts warned  this was a formula for disaster because such facilities didn’t have the ability to properly quarantine the infected. “This approach will introduce the highly contagious virus into more nursing homes. There will be more hospitalizations for nursing home residents who need ventilator care and ultimately, a higher number of deaths. Issuing such an order is a mistake and there is a better solution,” American Health Care Association President and CEO Mark Parkinson protested in March after Cuomo’s order went into effect.

Richard Mollot, executive director of the New York’s Long Term Care Community Coalition, said that the policy “put many people in grave danger.” Professor David Grabowski at Harvard Medical School, whose field is public health, was aghast, telling NBC,  “Nursing homes are working so hard to keep the virus out, and now we’re going to be introducing new COVID-positive patients?”

Yes, that was the  plan, but it is difficult to fathom why anyone would think it was a good idea. A lot wasn’t and still isn’t understood about the virus, but one thing that has been known all year is that it is especially deadly for the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.

‘Hey, let’s put all those discharged old people who we know are infected into cramped, confined nursing homes where trying to quarantine anyone is hard and where we already know dubious management and care is rampant!’

‘BRILLIANT!’

In the imperious attitude that New York residents have become accustomed to, Cuomo claimed that it was “not his job” to help the privately-run nursing homes acquire necessary protective equipment to  deal with the already infected seniors he was forcing them to accept. He dismissed all warnings. In April,  asked by a reporter if anyone had objected to New York’s policy of forcing nursing homes to admit recently discharged Wuhan virus patients, Cuomo snapped, “They don’t have the right to object. That is the rule, and that is the regulation, and they have to comply with it.”

And so it came to be that Cuomo’s government put old people already suffering from the virus into understaffed nursing homes despite other, better, safer options, like nearly empty medical facilities New York has available, such as the Javits Center, or the Navy hospital ship Comfort.

Thoughtfully, New York did supply body bags—I guess you could call them “protective equipment— to many of the nursing homes as the deadly new residents arrived, and sure enough, the bags came in handy, as the results of Cuomo’s policy were exactly as the experts predicted. Over a third of all U.S. deaths from the pandemic have occurred in nursing homes, and New York’s long term care facilities lead the pack with over 5,000 fatalities. New Jersey is in second place with over 4,000, and the rest lag behind considerably. (A point of order is needed here. There is anecdotal evidence as well as justifiable suspicions that the virus is being used a default cause of death determination when other maladies could have been blamed as well.)

The Ethics Alarms position on judging governments and elected officials regarding their handling of the pandemic is lenient and forgiving. Since so little is known about the virus still, since the crisis is unprecedented, and because the political and public pressures from advocacy groups and social media are so daunting, every leader is in an impossible position and to an extent at the mercy of moral luck. Ethics Alarms’ sympathy does not extend to objectively reckless and stupid policies, or those that are dismissive of basic individual rights without adequate cause, like prohibiting “big box” stores from selling “non essential items,” or pulling down the nets on tennis courts. Cuomo’s order didn’t just defy expert advice, it defied common sense. When an elected official’s decision looks stupid at the outset and has exactly the effect that critics said it would have, that official deserves to be held accountable.

So far, however, Cuomo isn’t being held accountable; in fact, the opposite is true. The New Republic noted, “If a media darling has emerged during the coronavirus crisis, it’s Cuomo.” The New York Times’s Ben Smith wrote that Cuomo “has emerged as the executive best suited for the coronavirus crisis.” Carl Bernstein told CNN that Gov. Cuomo has demonstrated “real leadership of the kind the president of the United States should have provided to the American people throughout this crisis, but hasn’t.”

(I’ll interject here that it is sad to see what a complete political hack Carl Bernstein has become in his post Post years. His “All the President’s Men” partner, Bob Woodward, has largely maintained respectable professional standards.)

Thus the inexplicably positive coverage (well, maybe not so inexplicable) has handed  Cuomo a huge boost in the polls. Columnist Ross Barkan wrote, “Andrew Cuomo’s approval rating has surged beyond 80 percent. New York is the global epicenter for COVID-19 and there’s little the government did well to contain the virus in its early stages. 20,000+ people have died. It is truly one of the most remarkable PR coups of all-time.”

That’s not a coup, it’s a gift. Apparently the  news media decided that it had to find some savior that the trapped Democratic Party could turn to when Joe Biden began sounding like Dustin Hoffman in “Rain Man” or if Tara Reade produced so much evidence that she couldn’t even be ignored by Nancy Pelosi. Because Cuomo was clear and coherent in his daily press briefings (unlike other prominent officials who hold daily press briefings), he was the consensus choice.

Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!

 

18 thoughts on “Maybe You CAN Fool All Of The People—80% Anyway: The Andrew Cuomo Anomaly

  1. I just don’t understand how the media ignored St. Cuomo of Albany flippantly answering a question about people losing jobs, that they should go and get an essential job, if they’re so worried about unemployment. Tone deaf, and really kind of a get off my back answer. Just imagine the Box, Slate and Atlantic article if Trump said that. That would have been a story for a week. It’s baffling that you can blame all your blue state problems on Republicans and people will nod their head in wise agreement. I remember how WaPo’s Jen Rubin mused that the Wuhan virus will be more fatal to Republicans because they’re not worried about, they’re stupid hicks, and they’re just bad people, so they deserve it.

  2. If this wasn’t a leftist Democrat he would be featured as a modern day ghoul on NPR, CNN, and the rest of the usual resistance outlets.

    As an elder care and rehab hospital board member, I’m glad I live in Indiana where another sane Hanoverian is Governor in Eric Holcomb.

  3. Well, I guess that’s one way to rid yourself of troublesome Republican-leaning older voters — force them to be exposed to a deadly, contagious organic poison. I’m sure some Democrats were lost to the virus as well, but hey, omelettes are always hard on a few eggs.

    You have to admire the brilliance of that, even while wondering how someone who plausibly caused thousands of unnecessary deaths through his poor leadership could be so popular.

    Because New York, I guess.

  4. By most any measure he and comrade DeBlasio’s mishandling of the pandemic is the worst in the nation and possibly the world. However Andrew Cuomo may be many things, but he is not an idiot. Ordering nursing homes to take stabilized infected patients may not be an oversite. Rather it could be a coldly calculated decision. Prior to the pandemic, NYS had a $6 billion hole in its budget for Medicaid spending and a large portion of Medicaid spending goes to nursing home care. Cuomo tasked his minions to come up with Medicaid cuts without cutting (vote buying) services. It seems logical if you cut the nursing home population you can cut spending without cutting services. [New York has more than 101,000 nursing home residents, more than any other state. https://www.syracuse.com/coronavirus/2020/05/as-coronavirus-threatens-nursing-homes-ny-state-struggles-for-a-strategy.html%5D.

    Additionally, early in the pandemic, Cuomo was worried about overrunning hospital capacity. Moving elders out of the hospitals would make more beds available for younger voters. Since he is in the first year of his new four-year term. Current nursing home residents may not be around in three years to vote even without the pandemic. Couple this with a sycophant media who’s main focus is criticizing the feds and Trump his nursing home order could be a logical decision.

    To support this reasoning, you need only look at his 2015 Ventilator Allocation plan and substitute hospital beds for ventilators. (https://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/task_force/reports_publications/docs/ventilator_guidelines.pdf).

    Regarding the 5000 nursing home deaths rather than an overstatement in NYS it is probably an understatement. Per the referenced Syracuse.com article: [The state’s revised fatality data still understates nursing home deaths because it does not include deaths of nursing home residents that occur in hospitals. This same article reports that the state thwarts local efforts to combat the virus. But county officials say they cannot do that (virus testing) in nursing homes because those facilities are regulated by the state Health Department. County Executive Ryan McMahon said the county has teamed with the state to test in a few nursing homes here. “The state has made it clear we just can’t go in and do this ourselves, he said”.]

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