Former NY Times reporter bashes governors over coronavirus toll in nursing homes: 'A lot to answer for'

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Former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson told "Tucker Carlson Tonight" Thursday that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Pennsylvania Gov. Thomas Wolf and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker must answer for the large proportion of coronavirus deaths among residents of nursing and personal care homes.

Berenson, who appeared on "Fox Nation 101: COVID Contrarian," told host Tucker Carlson that leaders in New York are belatedly responding to the large number of fatalities in those facilities.


"They are doing it two months and 5,000 deaths late, but at least they are now talking about not letting people who have COVID be discharged into nursing homes," said Berenson, who noted that such a policy was not in place in Florida, which has a high elderly population.

"Another thing you can do with nursing homes is you can prevent people from visiting," Berenson added. "But obviously, there is a cost to the people inside of the homes when you do that. And so everything is a balance, but clearly, the governors of New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania have a lot to answer for, and nobody is really asking."

Carlson, for his part, expressed incredulity that the number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes was not a bigger story.

"In Pennsylvania and New York, authorities ordered nursing homes to accept infected patients, and thousands died," he said. "For some reason, that scandal is not on the front page of The New York Times every day."

Over Mother's Day weekend, the New York Post editorial board wrote that Cuomo "finally admitted -- tacitly and partially anyway" that State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker's order that nursing homes re-admit coronavirus-positive patients was a mistake.

"Such patients must now test negative for the virus before hospitals can return them to nursing homes," the board wrote. "Yet the gov also admitted that COVID-19 cases might still go to the facilities via other routes, and didn’t explicitly overrule Zucker’s March 25 mandate that homes must accept people despite their testing status — indeed, couldn’t even require a test pre-admission,"


According to data compiled by Phil Kerpen, the president of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, 60.9 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in Massachusetts were residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities. Kerpen's data also found that 68.7 percent of Pennsylvania COVID-19 deaths were residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilites.

The data compiled by Kerpen found that just 25.3 percent of COVID-19 deaths in New York were residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities. However, that total does not include nursing home or care home residents who died at local hospitals.