Gov. Cuomo: Criticism of NY nursing home deaths a 'shiny object,' 'pure politics'

Gov. Cuomo: Criticism of NY nursing home deaths a 'shiny object,' 'pure politics'
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New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoCuomo calls on wealthy to return to New York City: 'You got to come back!' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Key 48 hours loom as negotiators push for relief deal Cuomo to serve as National Association of Governors chair MORE (D) called criticism of his handling of COVID-19 patients being sent back into nursing homes "a shiny object" and "pure politics" during an interview with New York's WAMC-AM on Thursday. 

The interview comes as ProPublica reported earlier this week that more than 6,000 New York nursing home residents have died as a result of the novel coronavirus, about 6 percent of the more than 100,000 nursing residents in the state.

“Do you ever change your mind, governor, about anything based on what these reporters are saying?” host Alan Chartock asked Cuomo. “I think about the nursing home situation, you got a lot of criticism from them, they asked one question after another. Is there anything you could point to in which you say ‘Ok, they really sort of have convinced me I’m on the wrong track here.'” 

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“No,” Cuomo replied. “The nursing home is an unfortunate situation on two levels. No. 1, people in nursing homes died. The nursing home is pure politics, the Republicans in Congress, they think there’s a vulnerability.”

“The nursing home thing it’s just all politics and it’s, frankly, the New York Post, and [columnist Michael] Goodwin, this is their way of defending Trump,” Cuomo continued.  

The widely-read Goodwin has slammed the governor on several occasions for his handling of COVID-19 patients being sent back into nursing homes, including in a column last month that went viral at the time.   

"If you are the governor of the state that is the national epicenter of the deadly outbreak, you don’t have the luxury of not knowing, or pretending not to know, about the horrendous carnage in nursing homes and rehabilitation centers," Goodwin wrote. "And if your policies contributed to that carnage, the decent thing to do is to own your mistakes and fix them." 

In his WAMC interview, Cuomo argued the criticism is only occurring to distract from the federal government's response.  

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“They don’t want to talk about what the federal government did on COVID. So they want to attack the Democrats for nursing home deaths. It’s the same M.O., just distract, you know create a shiny object to take attention off what they don’t want you to focus on,” Cuomo said Thursday. “We had the worst case in the United States because the federal government had no idea what was going on. Where was the CDC? And where was the NIH? And where was everybody?”

The death toll from coronavirus in New York is at 24,661, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

The U.S. death toll is approaching 120,000 as of Thursday night.