Cuomo’s callous COVID-19 policies spike NY minority death rate

Journalists refuse to confront New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and obliterate his blame-shifting talking points for his shocking mismanagement of the coronavirus outbreak in New York City. They would rather rejoice over the high death rate and blame President Donald Trump, despite everything he has done to save lives.

Poor isolation protocols in the city’s hospitals and nursing homes have had the devastating effect of spreading, rather than containing coronavirus among New York’s hard-hit minority groups.

Statistics show that Black and Hispanic patients have had much poorer outcomes after contracting coronavirus and disproportionately higher death rates. New York City Health Department data shows whites die from COVID-19 at a rate of 109.95 per 100,000, while African-Americans die at a rate of 219.99 per 100,000 and Hispanics at 236.56 per 100,000.

The governor’s numerous softball interviews with his brother Chris Cuomo, the substandard host of CNN’s Prime Time, are like a slap in the face for New Yorkers, given the outrageous abuse of power he has displayed which has cost so many lives.

“Unusual times, right? He’s my big brother, I love him, of course, I’m not objective, but let’s call it straight. Look at the state,” said Cuomo Wednesday after another duplicitous interview.

The coronavirus infection rate in the Bronx has been the highest in the city for several weeks. The borough has 47,274 cases, with 3,301 residents per 100,000 testing positive.

Queens, the second-most populous borough has the third highest rate of confirmed coronavirus cases totaling 64,179 with 2,816 residents per 100,000 testing positive.

Brooklyn, the borough with the largest population, has 58,303 cases, the second highest among the five boroughs and the fourth-lowest rate of infection of 2,257 per 100,000 residents.

A shocking Wall Street Journal report published June 11 noted that, “Hospitals often mixed infected patients with the uninfected early on, and the virus spread to non-COVID-19 units.”

Florida registered nurse and U.S. Army veteran Erin Marie Olszewski, who traveled to New York City to work at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens — the “epicenter of the epicenter” for coronavirus in the U.S., said she witnessed questionable healthcare practices that likely spread the highly infectious virus.

She told Fox News recently, it was an “extremely common,” “everyday experience” for healthcare workers to hospitalize patients infected with the virus without properly isolating them from COVID-negative patients.

“And, there was really no reason for that,” she said. “There were resources that were not being utilized. For instance, the Comfort ship, the Javits Center, and they had Samaritan’s Purse. So, we had options that weren’t utilized.”

President Donald Trump dispatched the Navy’s floating 1,000-bed hospital ship USNS Comfort  to New York City to admit COVID-negative patients. Its mission was to ease pressures on local hospitals, but the medical teams had only treated an incomprehensible 182 patients over a three-and-a-half week period from March 30 to April 27, before Cuomo announced the ship was leaving.

The Navy requested that the patients be first admitted at a hospital, receive a COVID-19 test, have the test come back negative and then obtain transportation to the Comfort via ambulance, but hospital officials viewed these stipulations as bureaucratic hurdles.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also set up a massive temporary field hospital with 1,700 beds at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center at the end of March. It closed on May 1 after treating a little more than 1000 patients at the facility.

A 68-bed tent field hospital set up by Samaritan’s Purse in Central Park operated a respiratory care unit from April 1 to May 5 through a partnership with the Mount Sinai Health System. The Disaster Assistance Response Team treated just over 300 coronavirus patients, even though more than 240 relief specialists were available, a devastatingly low ratio.

Olszewski contended that the infection and death rates could have been even smaller if hospital staff had practiced better isolation and were allowed to use additional available treatments such as hydroxychloroquine. Cuomo restricted its use by executive order in March.

“So, in New York, the doctors were not able to prescribe the hydroxychloroquine. And, the main treatment in New York City in Elmhurst Hospital was to essentially put these patients on a [ventilator]. And, they really refused to try any alternative treatments even though they were successful in other states,” Olszewski said. 

“For example, I’m from Florida. My hospital was successfully treating patients with the hydroxychloroquine and the zinc with a completely different number of deaths,” she stated.

Media personality Dr. Zubin “ZDoggMD” Damania, an internist and founder of Turntable Health, reported recently that he spoke anonymously with members of the Elmhurst staff and faculty. An unidentified doctor told Damania that patients who were ruled non-COVID were “homed with COVID-positive patients at the beginning of this pandemic. Why? Because the hospital was 80% over capacity.”

“Imagine, we had 152 patients on ventilators when I walked through that door April 11th. We still have original COVID patients in the ICU units, some that were intubated at the end of March.” The unidentified doctor also noted that false negative and false positive test results were also to blame. Patients with elevated inflammatory markers on admission often failed to test positive even though they were presenting with glass ground opacities in the lungs, and rapid onset of multi organ system failure,” he explained.

New York State Nurses Association President Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez blamed poor funding for the high coronavirus death rate in New York’s minority population. The organization represents 42,000 nurses in New York State. The working class and the middle class and the poor are getting shafted,” Sheridan-Gonzalez wrote in an internal memo.

She criticized the level of care patients were receiving at the hospitals that serve them, specifically Montefiore in the Bronx and the city’s public hospitals like Woodlawn in Queens and Bellevue in Manhattan.

The level of care is dependent on staff being trained properly, on having enough staff and on having enough space to properly accommodate patients, Sheridan-Gonzalez noted. The hospitals that serve mostly poor and mostly black and brown patients severely lacked these capabilities, she explained.

“What’s really important is training and staffing and space,” she said. “You can’t have people on stretchers in a hallway on a patient care unit and not give them a room — especially when you’re dealing with an infectious disease.”

Over 6,300 seniors also died of COVID-19 in nursing homes and long-term-care facilities across New York state after Cuomo decided on March 25 to force nursing homes to accept known COVID-positive patients while also prohibiting them from testing patients for the virus prior to admission.

This policy remained in place for more than six weeks before Cuomo reversed it in May after mounting criticism from healthcare workers, nursing home industry advocates, and family members of residents.

Cuomo also granted civil immunity to nursing homes, which eliminated the fear of lawsuits on behalf of residents, leaving them vulnerable to negligence and abuse. Families in New York state have also been unable to advocate for their relatives since they were banned from visitation over three months ago.

“The closedown is a pain in the neck, but my continued answer is, it’s better than death,” Cuomo told reporters earlier this month. The irony is inescapable.