During the Corona crisis, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (63) was the opposite of then President Donald Trump (74) for a long time. The politician managed the tragic situation in the trouble spot with determination, competence and a lot of humanity. His daily press conferences were considered a “therapy session for the population”, Joe Biden (78) ennobled Cuomo’s appearance as a “gold standard”, and the governor even received an Emmy for his “leadership skills”.
Now the image of the admired crisis manager is cracking. Even the Democrats oppose him.
Controversial guideline forced the admission of infected people
The scandal started last year. In the summer, criticism of Cuomo increased. The reason: a directive that Cuomo had issued in March. In principle, it forced nursing homes to “take back” residents from the hospital – even if they had tested positive in the meantime. The number of infections in nursing homes skyrocketed.
At that time, New York had the second highest death rate in retirement and nursing homes after New Jersey. Cuomo defended himself against the allegation of not having adequately protected people in need of care. He blamed health workers for bringing the virus into nursing homes.
500’000 Tote in the USA: Corona claims more victims than America’s wars(01:03)
Now it is known: The already high number of deaths was actually much higher! Instead of “only” 8,500 nursing home residents, 15,000 actually died, almost twice as many as Cuomo’s authorities now had to admit.
Cuomo defends himself – allegations are “lies”
Nursing home residents who eventually died in the hospital instead of in their home were apparently not counted when it came to deaths in the homes. Has Cuomo’s government not only not adequately protected residents of old people’s and nursing homes – but also tried to cover up the omission?
That was a “lie,” said Andrew Cuomo last week. He defends the US state counting method. The data released were not “wrong”. However, he regrets not having provided information quickly enough and not having corrected “misinformation” quickly enough.
His health commissioner Howard Zucker also defended the controversial directive on Friday that required nursing homes to re-admit residents after hospital visits, even if they tested positive.
“What if we hadn’t done that? Life-saving hospital beds would not have been available because they would have been occupied by someone who could have been discharged, “Zucker said. “We made the right public health decision back then and, given the same facts, would make the same decisions again.” The decision was based on recommendations from the US health authorities.
Threats against MPs?
But the pressure on Cuomo is increasing. Because the governor, who was celebrated a year ago, is also facing violent headwinds from his own party. Among other things, Ron Kim (41), a local MP, asked the governor and his top advisor Melissa DeRosa after a background conversation in which she admitted to New York MPs the deliberate “delay” of the data publication in order to investigate Trump – Prevent government from making a public apology to loved ones. And Cuomo apparently reacted thinly.
“Governor Cuomo called me – he’ll ruin my career if I don’t cover Melissa and what she says. He tried to put me under pressure (…) and it was a very traumatizing experience, “said Democrat Ron Kim last week to” CNN “. Cuomo had told him that he could “not exceed certain limits” – “he could get very angry and destroy me”.
Democrats want to disempower their Corona heroes
Cuomo’s office denies the allegations. «The governor has three witnesses for this conversation. The words chosen were something like ‘I’m from Queens, too, and people still expect honor and integrity in politics,’ ”a Cuomo adviser said. At a press conference, Cuomo himself spoke at the same time of a “long and hostile” relationship with Kim.
But the local MP is not Cuomo’s only problem within the party. A bill to be passed this week in the New York Senate – which is controlled by the Democrats – stipulates that Cuomo will need additional approvals for future executive ordinances. He would then probably no longer be able to issue a directive like the one last March without the consent of Parliament. That would severely limit his power.
The Republicans are already talking of impeachment. Given the democratic majority in the Senate, that is unlikely. However, Cuomo, who is already in his third term, wants to stand for re-election in the next year – whether he has the party behind him is currently questionable in view of the violent allegations.
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