Cuomo blames GOP, NY Post for controversy over nursing home COVID-19 deaths

Writing in his new memoir, Gov. Andrew Cuomo again blamed Republicans and The Post for the controversy surrounding his own policy barring nursing homes from turning away people on the basis of a coronavirus diagnosis.

“The most painful aspect of the COVID crisis has been its devastating effect on our elderly in nursing homes,” writes Cuomo in “American Crisis,” out Tuesday.

As of Sunday, nearly 6,700 people had died in nursing or adult-care facilities of confirmed or presumed cases of the coronavirus, according to state records.

“By early spring, Republicans needed an offense to distract from the narrative of their botched federal response — and they needed it badly,” Cuomo continued. “So they decided to attack Democratic governors and blame them for nursing homes.”

Under a state Department of Health mandate issued in March, nursing homes were prohibited from turning away residents on the basis of a positive COVID-19 test, even as Cuomo repeatedly acknowledged that seniors were among the most vulnerable to the contagion.

“On April 25, conservative columnist Michael Goodwin published a piece in Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post aimed at New York with the headline, ‘State lacked common sense in nursing homes’ coronavirus approach,’” wrote Cuomo. “It was an orchestrated strategy and a Fox News drumbeat.

“It wasn’t just me,” he continued. “[Gov.] Phil Murphy in New Jersey, Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan, Gavin Newsom in California and Tom Wolf in Pennsylvania were all in the Republican crosshairs on nursing homes. As the states with the most deaths were Democratic states, the Trump forces saw us as an easy target.”

Cuomo has previously blamed conservative voices and The Post for raising criticism over the issue, despite bipartisan calls for independent probes into what effect the DOH mandate may have had on the nursing home death toll.

He partially reversed the order in May without admitting that it may have cost lives.

In his new book, however, Cuomo does concede one mistake — for not doing enough to make people understand what the mandate did and did not do.

“Unfortunately, although I tried, I never successfully communicated the facts on the situation,” he wrote. “The Trump forces had a simple line: ‘Thousands died in nursing homes.’ It was true.

“But they needed to add a conspiracy, which was that they died because of a bad state policy that ‘mandated and directed’ that the nursing homes accept COVID-positive people, and these COVID-positive people were the cause of the spread of the disease in the nursing homes,” he continued. “It was a lie.”

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