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Republicans call for ‘gutless’ Cuomo to RESIGN after he blamed TRUMP for COVID nursing home deaths

Republicans have called for the Democrat governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, to resign after his response to a COVID nursing home death toll scandal was: ‘who cares’ where they died.

Cuomo said it did not matter if a COVID death was counted in a nursing home or hospital on Friday, as he defended his administration for undercounting nursing home deaths by around 4,000.

He was immediately slammed as ‘disgusting’, ‘callous’ and ‘gutless’ by people whose loved ones died in nursing homes. 

The scandal erupted on Thursday morning, when the NY Attorney General released a damning report which said Cuomo’s health department – which said there were 8,500 nursing home deaths – had misrepresented the number, because it only counted people who physically died in nursing homes, and not nursing home residents who died in hospital as well. 

Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, is facing calls to resign over his handling of the crisis

Gerard Kassar, chair of the New York state Conservatives has called on Cuomo to resign

Gerard Kassar, chair of the New York state Conservatives has called on Cuomo to resign

Republican whip Steve Scalise, who is also a ranking member of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, said the findings constitute an ‘outrageous’ cover-up, and the New York state Conservative Party Chairman, Gerard Kassar, called on Cuomo to resign. 

‘An honorable leader would resign under such circumstances,’ said Kassar, who accused Cuomo of intentionally manipulating the data. 

‘Attorney General Letitia James’s damning report on New York nursing home deaths has exposed one of the most egregious cover ups in New York State history. 

‘There must be a price to pay.’

New York congressmen Elise Stefanik and Tom Reed agreed.

‘Since May of last year, we have worked tirelessly to shine a light on New York’s disastrous nursing home policies to ensure such a colossal public health failure never happens again,’ Reed said in a statement. 

‘Instead of working with us, Governor Cuomo’s only response has been to ruthlessly attack anyone who questioned the state’s disastrous policies, including those from his party, deny any wrongdoing, and hide damning nursing home fatalities data that would implicate his administration.’

Stefanik called for New York Attorney General Letitia James and the U.S. Department of Justice to issue subpoenas to Cuomo and his staff. 

She also called on President Joe Biden to support a federal investigation into the matter. 

‘This is now more than a nursing home scandal, this is a massive corruption and coverup scandal at the highest level of New York State Government implicating the Governor, the Secretary to the Governor, the New York State Health Commissioner and the Governor’s staff,’ Stefanik said in a statement. 

Scalise is demanding that Cuomo, who he says is ‘obfuscating facts’, turn over all of the state’s data on nursing home deaths before February 4. 

‘Cuomo’s administration has been undercounting COVID deaths in nursing homes—could be 50% higher,’ he tweeted.

‘For months Cuomo has tried to blame everyone else for the avoidable deaths his own policies caused. 

‘Now the truth is out. Time for him to answer for this cover up,’ Scalise said.  

Steve Scalise, the Republican whip in the House, has accused Cuomo of staging a cover-up

Steve Scalise, the Republican whip in the House, has accused Cuomo of staging a cover-up

Republican whip Steve Scalise is accusing Cuomo of a 'cover up'

Republican whip Steve Scalise is accusing Cuomo of a ‘cover up’ 

Cuomo won an Emmy for his daily COVID press briefings and has written a book about his handling of the crisis.

He is now accused of a ‘cover up’ that stems back to a March 25 directive which he oversaw that mandated nursing homes had to accept COVID-19 patients to free up hospital beds. 

It meant more than 6,000 COVID-19-positive people were sent back into the nursing homes, potentially exposing staff and other residents to the virus which attacks elderly people at a far higher rate than younger people.  

Cuomo released a book about his handling of the pandemic and he also won an Emmy for his daily TV briefings

Cuomo released a book about his handling of the pandemic and he also won an Emmy for his daily TV briefings

In a letter to Cuomo, Scalise called the findings ‘distressing’ and even went as far as to suggest that the governor may have been ‘complicit’ in the number of nursing home deaths because of the directive on March 25. 

It was issued by the Department of Health and later rescinded by Cuomo amid outcry. 

‘Considering the shocking new report revealing you and your administration drastically undercounted nursing home deaths in New York state, we write to request your full and immediate response to our previous questions. 

‘To date, you and New York State Attorney General Letitia James have failed to respond to requests posed in three separate letters. 

‘The report released today establishes that you ordered COVID-19 positive patients back into nursing homes, this order caused infections and fatalities, and you took concerted efforts to cover it up,’ Scalise wrote in his letter. 

James’s report means some 4,000 people died in hospital after being transferred there from nursing homes, putting the total at around 12,700. 

The latter number was always counted in the total number of New York state deaths but was not categorized as a nursing home death. Now, nursing home deaths account for around 30 percent of the state total. 

In New York, the number is of particular concern because of a March 25 directive that Cuomo oversaw which directed nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients. 

Around 6,000 ended up returning to nursing homes with the virus. Many families of residents say this decision contributed to the high death toll. 

After leaving his health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, to answer questions about it on Thursday, Cuomo addressed it on Friday at his COVID-19 briefing but suggested it didn’t matter where the deaths happened – just that they were counted in the total.

‘Whether a person died in a hospital or died in a nursing home, it’s…people died.  People died,’ he said.

”I was in a hospital I got transferred to a nursing home,” he continued.

‘New York is under the national average for nursing home deaths.

‘But who cares 33 [died in a hospital], 28 [died in a nursing home.] They died.’   

He had been asked what he would say to the families of those whose loved ones died in the hospital, and started by saying: ‘What I would say is every one did the best they could.

‘The Department of Health followed federal guidance. 

‘If you think there was a mistake go talk to the federal government.’ 

In the same breath, he said: ‘It’s not about pointing fingers… this became a political football.’ 

He then accused the Trump administration of planting in people’s minds that he was in any way responsible for nursing home deaths, and called it ‘cruel’ because the deaths were unpreventable. 

‘To play politics with it the way they did, that was mean. When the Trump administration was trying to divert blame all the Democratic governors for the deaths in nursing homes – that was mean. 

‘It was mean because if you lost someone in a nursing home, it made you think maybe they didn’t have to die. It wasn’t true,’ he said. 

Cuomo then said he ‘understood’ if people wanted to blame someone for their loved ones’ deaths because he felt the same way when his father, Mario, died in 2015 at the age of 82 after struggling with heart issues.

‘I dealt with the loss of my father. The pain is so incredible and inexplicable and why and why and why. It’s a tragedy. 

‘I understand maybe the instinct to blame or to find some relief for the pain that you’re feeling… it’s a tragedy,’ he said. 

Cuomo has now been asked by Scalise - a ranking member of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis - to hand over all of the state's data on nursing home deaths

Cuomo has now been asked by Scalise – a ranking member of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis – to hand over all of the state’s data on nursing home deaths

Medical workers attend to a patient outside Harlem Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation located at 30 West 138th Street in Harlem, New York where at least 20 bodies were removed during coronavirus pandemic

Medical workers attend to a patient outside Harlem Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation located at 30 West 138th Street in Harlem, New York where at least 20 bodies were removed during coronavirus pandemic

Zucker released figures Thursday after the damning report from James’ office which said the state undercounted the figures by as much as 50 per cent. 

The state defended itself by saying it never undercounted the figures and that the extra deaths were counted as hospital deaths rather than nursing home deaths. 

Until now, the state had said some 8,914 nursing home residents died from COVID. 

They were only counting the people who physically died in the homes and not residents who went from homes to hospitals and then died. 

The true number is 12,743.  The NY State Department says there have been 34,742 deaths in total but both Johns Hopkins and The New York Times put the number at more than 42,000. The discrepancy is yet to be explained. 

By both sets of data, nursing home deaths now account for around a third of the state’s total. Cuomo has not given any public comment on it and he did not hold a press briefing on Thursday. 

Zucker insisted that the state never lied and that the word ‘undercount’ was inaccurate because technically, all of the deaths were counted in the total.  

‘The Department of Health has consistently found numerous inaccuracies when examining unverified data, and as a result, months ago DOH began an audit of fatality numbers reported by nursing homes to ensure public release of these statistics were accurate,’ Zucker said in a statement on Thursday. 


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