Although Gov. Cuomo received praise for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring, recent findings have led to criticism about actions regarding his March 25 nursing home order.
Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, is facing criticism and a potential impeachment because of the way he handled the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically the data regarding nursing home deaths as a result of an order put in place last March that required nursing homes to accept patients who had previously tested positive for COVID-19 after they were deemed medically stable.
“We must immediately start the impeachment process so we can publicly shed light, with full subpoena power, on all the bad decisions and policies he has made for the last 10 months,” Democrat Ron Kim, a New York Assemblyman said to the New York Daily News.\
Although Kim is speaking as a Democrat, he is the only one in the 213-member Legislature in favor of impeaching Cuomo. Both Democrats and Republicans agree that Cuomo’s abilities regarding his emergency executive powers should be decreased before they expire in April.
“GOP leaders in the Assembly started the process of forming an impeachment committee which would gather evidence on the state’s handling of COVID and nursing homes. A decision on whether to move ahead could happen as early as next week when lawmakers return to Albany,” wrote ABC News.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cuomo was held in high esteem by many after his initial response to the pandemic — which included 111 daily coronavirus briefings. Cuomo even received the International Emmy Founders Award for his briefings.
Though popular for his decisive actions taken amidst a growing pandemic, Cuomo is now facing criticism for withholding the number of coronavirus related deaths in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
On March 25 of last year, Cuomo put his nursing home order into effect. Many believe this action led to an increased number of deaths among the elderly in New York, but Cuomo insists “that it was caregivers who brought the virus into the facilities, not the order,” according to CNN.
Recently, the secretary to the governor, Melissa DeRosa, admitted to withholding the numbers of nursing home deaths from Democratic lawmakers. While the nursing home death tally was originally around 8,711, this number has jumped to around 13,000 in nursing homes and nearly 15,000 people when assisted living facilities are accounted for.
Some of these miscalculations are attributed to New York nursing home residents who died in a hospital instead of a nursing home, which caused these deaths to be counted as hospital deaths, instead of nursing home deaths. This skewed the data concerning coronavirus related deaths in nursing homes and living facilities.
Cuomo also did not, “report the number of nursing home residents who died from the virus after being transferred to hospitals until Jan. 28,” according to USA Today, but “State officials have stressed the total number of deaths statewide hasn’t changed, just how they are accounted for,” according to USA Today.
Cuomo may be facing backlash from members of government, but according to Spectrum News, the likelihood of his impeachment remains low. New York has only experienced the impeachment of one governor — William Sulzer, in 1913.
“Impeachment really is a partisan and sometimes a hyper-partisan process,” said Jack O’Donnell — author of “Bitten by the Tiger” which “details the rise and fall of William Sulzer.”
The likelihood of Cuomo’s impeachment still remains low, but state lawmakers are set to vote on whether Cuomo gets to keep his emergency powers in the coming weeks, which expire March 31 unless extended.