While sexual harassment allegations led to Cuomo’s ousting from office in August 2021, there was a lingering controversy over his ill-fated policy in March 2020 ordering nursing homes to accept COVID patients in order to prevent overwhelming New York’s hospital system. That led to the deaths of over 4,100 nursing home residents.
Maher read a viewer question posed to Cuomo asking whether he would have done anything differently during COVID.
“So you allowed people who had been in the hospital – older people, from a nursing home, now they go to the hospital to go back into the nursing home without testing them,” Maher said. “ProPublica says you were the only state to do it without testing them when they went back into the nursing home. And that’s what caused the death in the nursing homes. Is that true?”
“No, the short answer is no.” Cuomo responded. “First, this is Monday morning quarterbacking by which I could make the New York Jets champion, right, if we’re gonna do this. When COVID started, it was – all of the disinformation was amazing, right? It was coming from China, wet market, zootrophic virus, it was going to California and the state of Washington so we banned travel to China, from China. It turned out that China had already spread it to Europe. All the European flights were coming to New York, JFK. So it had been here for months and it was astronomical. When we first found out about it… they were projecting we would need 150,000 hospital beds to deal with the number of infected, we only had 50,000 in the entire state of New York.”
“You did it to free up beds,” Maher said.
“We were afraid of losing hospital beds,” Cuomo said, “but people who were in hospitals who were considered medically stable, who were tested, were sent to nursing homes if the nursing home said they could treat that person in a way that protects the other people in the nursing home. And that was a way to make sure we had enough hospital beds.”
The HBO host then mentioned how the Cuomo administration did not accurately count the number of COVID deaths in nursing homes by saying those who were rushed to the hospital from a nursing home with COVID and died in the hospital counted as a non-nursing home death.
Maher noted that Cuomo’s critics believed the miscounting was “deliberate.”
“Well, let me now get weedsy with you,” Cuomo responded. “Every day I did a briefing and every day we collected information from the hospitals and from nursing homes, and we print the two numbers on the screen every day. This is the number of people who died in the hospital. This is the number of people who died in a nursing home, which means you had to go back every day to 1000 hospitals, nursing homes to collect this data… They then raise the question who said ‘Well, how many died in a hospital who were originally in a nursing home before they went to the hospital?’ That’s a different question. And that actually took the state controller a year to figure out and go back and do the audit.”
“So, you wouldn’t do anything differently,” Maher interjected.
“I would run that number now, which nobody asked me for until months later, but it would have been, you know, this is in the middle of COVID,” Cuomo answered. “And you’re asking all these people to do accounting, but if that’s a number that people would have wound up wanting, which they didn’t say for months, Bill, I would have put that number for upfront in the beginning.”
Author and NYU professor Scott Galloway attempted to soften the grilling Cuomo was facing, saying, “Let’s hold each other accountable but let’s bring a little bit of grace and forgiveness” since the country knows much more about COVID now than it did in the early months of the pandemic.”
“He’s exactly right,” Cuomo reacted. “All the early information was wrong, as a matter of fact, not just from President Trump – Dr. Fauci, who I have great respect for, early on said this is not going to be a problem. They said it was – you can contract it from touching a surface, we sprayed all the subways… but we had no idea how it infectious it was for seniors versus children early on. We had no idea we didn’t know if it was airborne or if it was by touch… When I say it’s all hindsight now, now you know.
Fact check: Cuomo is guilty of the same criminal abuse of power as countless other authorities worldwide who exploited the manufactured pandemic to aggrandize power and profit. No grace and forgiveness for these unconscionable crimes.