Some key elements in the continuing story of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s stewardship of New York’s response to the Covid-19 crisis involving nursing home deaths are not getting the attention they should. Last week’s bombshell disclosures by a top aide to the governor to a group of New York legislators is a case in point.
Melissa De Rosa disclosed that accurate information about nursing home deaths was withheld from inquiring members of the state legislature out of a fear that the information could become grist for a federal investigation and that, in any event, responding to earlier federal requests for information was a priority.
But several things just don’t add up. If the information they were providing directly to the Feds wasn’t damning, why couldn’t it have been provided to the state authorities as well? Is it possible that the governor’s office was willfully withholding data from the federal authorities? Didn’t the General Flynn saga teach us that even informal misleading federal agents is a crime? And if it was the same information, why the delay?
And why is there virtually no mention in the discussions of Cuomo’s infamous directive forcing nursing homes to accept corona transferees from hospitals that the hospital associations have been among the biggest contributors to the governor’s political campaigns? Surely the fact that the hospitals make a lot less money if their beds are filled with elderly Medicare and Medicaid nursing home age patients than privately-insured patients should have been at least a little intriguing.
But what also caught our eye was De Rosa’s seemingly offhand comment to the legislators that despite the large numbers of nursing home deaths, no New York nursing homes have lost their licenses or been fined. Note the shift from the focus on the role of the governor’s directive to nursing homes to accept corona referrals to a focus on the responsibility of the really hapless nursing homes.
But the nursing home industry is viewed by many as a business with a Jewish face. And indeed, the early publicized problems arising from the governor’s directive involved homes owned by Jews. So it is with some alarm that we view the De Rosa shift. This is especially so in the light of public officials having gone out of their way to portray Jews as the paradigmatic violators of Covid-19 rules.