On March 25, Cuomo and his health commissioner, Howard Zucker, ordered nursing homes to admit COVID-positive patients — 6,500 nursing-home deaths resulted. Paul Martinka
At a hearing Monday, Senate Investigations Committee Chairman James Skoufis recalled Gov. Cuomo’s description of COVID-19 ripping through nursing homes as “a fire through dry grass.” Lawmakers want to know “who lit the match.”
The answer is obvious: On March 25, Cuomo and his health commissioner, Howard Zucker, ordered nursing homes to admit COVID-positive patients. The result: 6,500 nursing-home deaths. If not more.
At the hearing, lawmakers — from both parties — grilled Zucker seeking answers. They got none.
Start with that figure itself — “a number we now know is an undercount” since it ignores those who later died in hospitals, Skoufis (D-Hudson Valley) noted: “Are we talking, with the hospital deaths, 8,000? 10,000? 15,000?” Zucker refused to say.
The health czar also held to the line in his department’s whitewashing report that blamed the deaths on asymptomatic staff and visitors, not the verifiably positive patients sent in because Cuomo and Zucker worried hospitals could be overwhelmed.
Yet if there was nothing wrong with his order, as Zucker insisted, Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) wondered why the state finally rescinded it in May.
Again, Zucker had no reply. He also refused to give straight answers about who was responsible for the order. Clearly, he was determined to prolong the coverup, in an obvious effort to shield himself and his boss, the governor, from accountability.
Lawmakers, who’ll hold another hearing next week, will have to explain the case on their own. They won’t have to look very far.