The biggest political scandal in America right now is playing out in New York, where Governor Andrew Cuomo is in a lot of trouble – and rightly so. The Democratic governor did not merely wildly mismanage his state’s response to the Covid emergency, while netting himself a lucrative book deal and an Emmy. He did something worse.
In the middle of a public health emergency, he used his office to help one of his largest political donors shield itself from legal consequences as 15,000 nursing home residents died from Covid-19 – and then he and his administration underreported that death toll, helping the same donor.Cuomo gave immunity to nursing home executives after big campaign donationsRead more
The Daily Poster and the Guardian had been covering the story for months before it exploded this week. The scandal is a cautionary tale of hubris, megalomania and corruption that left a literal mountain of preventable Covid-19 deaths in its wake. Now we are about to see whether a blue state’s democratic institutions can hold wrongdoers accountable, or whether America’s culture of impunity can once again protect the powerful from facing any consequences at all.
The same newspaper provided an in depth investigation of the situation several months ago:
Less than two years after that flood of cash from the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA), Cuomo signed legislation last month quietly shielding hospital and nursing home executives from the threat of lawsuits stemming from the coronavirus outbreak. The provision, inserted into an annual budget bill by Cuomo’s aides, created one of the nation’s most explicit immunity protections for healthcare industry officials, according to legal experts.New York enlists ‘army’ of contact tracers to beat coronavirus – but will it work?Read more
Critics say Cuomo removed a key deterrent against nursing home and hospital corporations cutting corners in ways that jeopardize lives. As those critics now try to repeal the provision during this final week of Albany’s legislative session, they assert that data prove such immunity is correlating to higher nursing home death rates during the pandemic – both in New York and in other states enacting similar immunity policies.
New York has become one of the globe’s major pandemic hotspots – and the center of the state’s outbreak has been nursing homes, where more than 5,000 New Yorkers have died, according to Associated Press data.