The policy decisions by governors of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Michigan will be under scrutiny
The U.S. Department of Justice announced it has opened a preliminary inquiry into the COVID-19 nursing home policies of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan that it says “may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents.”
The Justice Dept. release says the state “required nursing homes to admit COVID-19 patients to their vulnerable populations, often without adequate testing.”
The Justice Dept. particularly honed in on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker’s controversial March 25 order that required nursing homes accept recovering COVID-19 residents discharged from hospitals while barring the facilities from screening them for the killer bug.
The release even quotes from New York’s order which stated: “No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to [a nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. [Nursing homes] are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a joint response, both asserting that the Justice Department has politicized this issue.
“This is nothing more than a transparent politicization of the Department of Justice in the middle of the Republican National Convention. It’s no coincidence the moment the Trump administration is caught weakening the CDC’s COVID-19 testing guidelines to artificially lower the number of positive cases, they launched this nakedly partisan deflection,” they wrote.
“At least 14 states — including Kentucky, Utah, and Arizona — have issued similar nursing home guidance all based on federal guidelines – and yet the four states listed in the DOJ’s request have a Democratic governor. DOJ should send a letter to CMS and CDC since the State’s advisories were modeled after their guidance,” the Democratic governors continued.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New York had the highest number of Covid-19 deaths in the country with 32,592, many of whom were elderly. It had the second-highest death rate by population: 1,680 deaths per million people, according to the DOJ. New Jersey had the highest death rate with 1,733 deaths per million.
Whitmer was especially harsh in her criticism of this action, asserting that the timing is related to the then ongoing Republican National Convention.
“The fact that this letter was sent during the middle of the Republican National Convention week to four Democratic governors should make it crystal clear that this is nothing more than election year politics by an administration that is more concerned with the president’s re-election campaign than protecting Michigan seniors,” Whitmer said in a statement late Wednesday.
“We will review this letter and respond as appropriate. However, Americans would all be better served if the Trump administration stopped the partisan games and focused on delivering a real plan to defeat COVID-19.”
A glimpse of the following map summarizing the total number of COVID-19 nursing home deaths by state may provide insight as to why New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania were selected for scrutiny. And given Whitmer’s combative defense of her draconian state-wide measure, from which she attempted to exempt her family for a lakeside vacation, it is no wonder why her actions are getting a look-over by federal authorities.
I will look forward to reviewing the DOJ findings. Hopefully, they will be released before China releases another virus.DONATE
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