Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing intense backlash for claiming that criticism over his controversial nursing home policy is "politically motivated."
Through much of the coronavirus outbreak, there has been growing scrutiny over the Democratic governor's order in late March that forced nursing homes to accept patients who tested positive for coronavirus, despite testing deficiencies for both residents and staff. Cuomo signed an executive order on May 11 reversing the policy, stopping hospitals from sending infected patients back to nursing homes and ramping up testing for staff.
Last month, roughly 7,900 people have either been confirmed or presumed dead from COVID-19 in nursing homes in New York, according to the state's health department. That equates to approximately 25 percent of all deaths in the state have occurred in nursing homes, per the latest state total from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
However, when pressed at Friday's briefing on why he doesn't appoint an independent investigator to assess the nursing home deaths amid the criticism of his state's own report, Cuomo dismissed such concerns.
"I don’t believe your characterization is correct. I believe it is a political issue. I think it’s the New York Post, I think it’s Michael Goodwin, I think it’s Bob McManus, I think it’s Fox TV. I think it is all politically motivated," Cuomo said. "If anybody looked at the facts, they would know that it was wholly absurd on its face. People died in nursing homes. That’s very unfortunate. Just on the top line, we have- we are number 35th in the nation in percentage of deaths in nursing homes. Go talk to 34 other states first. Go talk to the Republican states now, Florida, Texas, Arizona. Ask them what is happening in nursing homes. It’s all politics.”
Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean, whose husband lost both of his parents in nursing homes from COVID-19 amid the state's controversial policy, slammed Cuomo's remarks.
"Dear @NYGovCuomo, the criticism about your nursing home policy is not about politics. It’s about getting answers on why you helped spread Coronavirus through their facilities. Blaming everyone else for your problems won’t make them go away," Dean tweeted.
Others ripped the top Democrat of New York on social media.
"There goes the New York governor attacking the free press again over legitimate criticism over his nursing policy of sending COVID-19 patents back into nursing homes and killing more than 6,000 people again..." Joe Concha, media reporter for The Hill, reacted.
"Andrew Cuomo says criticizing him over his nursing home policy 'is all politically motivated'. Pretty sure it's motivated by the families of the New Yorkers who died," The Federalist publisher Ben Domenech tweeted.
Bill Hammond, Empire Center health policy director, refuted Cuomo's claim by sharing all the reporting that's been done on his nursing home policy, including The Associated Press, ProPublica, Jacobin Magazine, and New York Daily News.
"Is some of the commentary over-the-top? Of course," Hammond wrote. "In retrospect, though, a wide range of experts, journalists and commentators agree the March 25 order was a mistake that, at a minimum, risked making a bad situation worse. Dismissing this view as "all politics" is a disservice to the public health."
Earlier this month, The Associated Press reported that “New York hospitals released more than 6,300 recovering coronavirus patients into nursing homes during the height” of the coronavirus pandemic under a “controversial, now-scrapped policy.”
Fox News' Brian Flood contributed to this report.