During the earlier days of the coronavirus pandemic, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that New York City would bear the brunt of the virus’s impact on America. This wasn’t all that surprising given just how dense the population is in The Big Apple, and the fact that this is the city that never sleeps. There would be an ugly death toll in NYC, and authorities would have to be their sharpest and brightest in order to prevent an abject catastrophe from taking place.
And while New York City did do some things right, one of the most egregious mistakes they made came as they attempted to free up ICU beds by sending COVID-19 patients into nursing homes, where the residents were at some of the highest risk of complications from the deadly illness.
It appears now that the state’s governor, who had a heavy role in that decision-making process, is allowing this information to remain as ambiguous as possible.
New York’s coronavirus death toll in nursing homes, already among the highest in the nation, could actually be a significant undercount. Unlike every other state with major outbreaks, New York only counts residents who died on nursing home property and not those who were transported to hospitals and died there.
That statistic could add thousands to the state’s official care home death toll of just over 6,600. But so far the administration of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has refused to divulge the number, leading to speculation the state is manipulating the figures to make it appear it is doing better than other states and to make a tragic situation less dire.
“That’s a problem, bro,” state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, a Democrat, told New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker during a legislative hearing on nursing homes earlier this month. “It seems, sir, that in this case you are choosing to define it differently so that you can look better.”
And the numbers could be staggering.
Some estimates, (made from admittedly incomplete data), seem to indicate that there may have been thousands of uncounted COVID-19 deaths at these facilities.
Become an insider!
Sign up for our free email newsletter, and we'll make sure to keep you in the loop.