In Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Book He Touts That New York Didn’t Fully Use Hospital Bed Capacity While Returning Infected People Nursing Homes

When it comes to ongoing controversy over New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s handling of how many nursing home deaths there were in New York because of the coronavirus and whether his policy choices could have led to increased number of deaths, his book American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic doesn’t paint a good picture. I already noted that he cited falsified nursing home statistics and then claimed others didn’t want to hear facts, but he also provides doublespeak on why coronavirus-positive people were returned from hospitals to nursing homes and actually touts that hospital bed capacity was being under used.

In the book he writes this about a claimed “lie” in terms of returning people to nursing homes:

Unfortunately, although I tried, I never successfully communicated the facts on the situation. 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.
It was a lie.

The next paragraph reads to me as describing that they did in fact mandate and direct that the nursing homes to accept coronavirus-positive people:

New York State never demanded or directed that any nursing home accept a COVID-positive patient. The Federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services guidance was that a nursing home should continue to accept patients from hospitals where COVID-19 was present, and not discriminate against a COVID-positive person. The state followed the guidance, stating that nursing homes should not reject a patient “solely on the basis” of COVID status. It also applied to hospitals . We couldn’t have a situation in which elderly patients who had been treated in hospitals ended up on the street because their nursing homes refused to take them back. Nor could we have a situation in which hospitals refused to take a COVID-positive person.

Eleven pages earlier he touts that New York didn’t use its full hospital capacity, so why couldn’t these people have stayed in the hospital instead of being on the street?:

Furthermore, all our efforts on providing emergency field beds whether on the Comfort or in the Javits Center were preparations for the worst – case scenario. Any intelligent strategy says “prepare for the worst and hope for the best.” All experts and the president’s own projection models said we would need additional beds beyond our current hospital capacity. By these models, even with the Comfort, the Javits Center, and all other emergency beds we provided, we were still tens of thousands of beds short of the maximum need. We never reached the maximum need because New Yorkers did a better job of “flattening the curve” than any experts had predicted. It was a tremendous success. Any informed person would have said, “Thank God we didn’t need the Comfort ” If the president was smarter on the issue, he should have claimed success in flattening the curve and reducing the need because that was the substantive success. The CDC projections, the Peter Navarro memo, Dr. Birx’s projections, all pointed to a need for 110,000 to 140,000 hospital beds. We flattened the curve such that our hospital need never went beyond 18,875. That was an accomplishment beyond anyone’s wildest predictions.

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