14% of New York nursing home residents have died during pandemic, report shows

14% of New York nursing home residents have died during pandemic, report shows
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Following revelations that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo misled the public on the total number of coronavirus related deaths in nursing homes, a new report by the Empire Center found that the number of deaths accounts for 14 per cent of New York’s “pre-pandemic nursing home population.”

The deaths occurred in the wake of Cuomo’s March 25 mandate requiring nursing homes to accept COVID positive patients on short notice, regardless of whether they were equipped to isolate and care for them.

Despite the disastrous policy, Cuomo received multiple awards for his leadership during the height of the pandemic in 2020. In November, Cuomo received an International Emmy Award. 

According to a report by the state’s Attorney General, Letitia James, the Cuomo administration undercounted the deaths in nursing homes by excluding patients who died after being transferred to hospital, instead listing them as hospital deaths, as reported by Rebel News

The Empire Center’s report also includes information about the other 49 states and Washington D.C., and found that New York’s death rate was higher than the national average of 12 per cent of the pre-pandemic nursing home population. States like Florida and California showed figures that were below the national average. 

Despite the dire numbers from New York, Massachusetts stands as the worst state, with death rates as high as 22 per cent of its pre-pandemic nursing home population.

New York ranks as the 13th worst state in terms of total pre-pandemic nursing home population, but ranks number one for the total number of nursing home deaths. 

The Empire Center reports:

The Cuomo administration had used the smaller, partial death toll to argue that New York’s nursing homes were better protected than most. 

That claim was revealed as misleading on Thursday, when Health Commissioner Howard Zucker issued a revised nursing home death count of 12,743, which was 50 percent higher than the state had previously acknowledged.

Six days after Zucker’s announcement, a state Supreme Court judge ordered the Health Department to promptly comply with a Freedom of Information request by the Empire Center, which sought nursing home mortality data maintained by the Health Department. Unless it appeals the ruling, the department is due to release the records within five business days.

Zucker’s revised count was a small preview of the fuller picture that data will provide. For the first time, it included some 4,000 nursing home residents who had died after being transferred to hospitals, a group the Health Department had excluded from its reporting—a practice used by no other state.

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