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America's 'Virus Hero' Is Suddenly Taking Heat

Gov. Cuomo's has pretty much dismissed one aspect of the pandemic
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 9, 2020 11:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has won bipartisan praise for rallying supplies for his ravaged hospitals and helping slow the coronavirus, is coming under increasing criticism for not bringing that same level of commitment to a problem that has so far stymied him: nursing homes, the AP reports. In part-lecture, part-cheerleading briefings that have made him a Democratic counter to President Trump, Cuomo has often seemed dismissive and resigned to defeat when asked about his state leading the nation in nursing home deaths. Residents' relatives, health care watchdogs and lawmakers from both parties cite problems with testing and transparency that have prevented officials—and the public—from grasping the full scale of the catastrophe.

And they are second-guessing a state directive that requires nursing homes take on new patients infected with COVID-19—an order they say accelerated outbreaks in facilities that are prime breeding grounds for infectious diseases. "The way this has been handled by the state is totally irresponsible, negligent and stupid,” says a nurse whose mother died of apparent COVID-19 in a nursing home. "They knew better. They shouldn't have sent these people into nursing homes." Cuomo also faced criticism at a recent briefing for saying that providing masks and gowns to nursing homes is "not our job" because the homes are privately owned. Of the nation’s more than 25,000 coronavirus deaths in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, more than a fifth of them—about 5,300—are in New York.

(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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