New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo repeated his assertion that the criticism he has received for nursing home coronavirus deaths is nothing more than politics, yet repeatedly dodged the question of whether or not senior centers in his state are currently safe.
Cuomo has received scathing criticism for his early order requiring that nursing homes accept COVID-19 patients who had been released from hospitals, effectively placing them in the same facilities housing the demographic most vulnerable to the virus. When NBC News’ Chuck Todd asked him about whether or not the facilities are now safe for the elderly, Cuomo immediately addressed the criticism instead of answering the question.
“I’ve taken political heat, OK. There’s facts and then there’s politics,” Cuomo said on “Meet the Press” Sunday. He then blamed nursing home COVID-19 cases on “staff that got infected and brought it in,” rather than patients who infected other patients.
Todd then asked again if the facilities were safe, and Cuomo did not give a direct answer but warned that senior citizens “have to be careful” anywhere.
“They are as safe – well, in this state we’re testing every week every nursing home employee,” he said. “So you could argue that they are safer than a senior citizen at home who is receiving care at home. The safest environment? My mother? Stay home, don’t see anyone. If you are at home and you have an aide coming in, that aide is not tested. In a nursing home, the staff is being tested once a week. And seniors do have to be careful, wherever they are.”
Earlier in the interview, Cuomo took credit for New York’s decrease in COVID-19 numbers, while other states are seeing spikes. He accused the federal government of being “in denial about the problem” and telling state officials: “You’re on your own.”
He then said that New York came up with its own plan, despite the CDC releasing a detailed plan for states to reopen in phases. Cuomo said the CDC’s guidelines were “vague” and that “I don’t even know what they meant.”
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.