Bombshell Confrontation: Bill Maher Grills Andrew Cuomo Over Nursing Home Scandal

Written By BlabberBuzz | Wednesday, 01 November 2023 16:30
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In a recent episode of "Real Time," host Bill Maher confronted former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, over the nursing home scandal that marred his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although Cuomo was forced to resign from office in August 2021 due to sexual harassment allegations, the controversy surrounding his March 2020 policy, which mandated nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients to prevent the state's hospital system from being overwhelmed, has persisted. This policy is believed to have contributed to the deaths of over 4,100 nursing home residents.

During the "Overtime" segment of the show, which aired on YouTube, Maher read a question from a viewer asking Cuomo if he would have handled the COVID-19 situation differently. Maher questioned Cuomo's decision to allow elderly patients from nursing homes, who had been hospitalized, to return to the nursing homes without being tested for the virus.

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He cited ProPublica's report that New York was the only state to implement such a policy, which allegedly led to the high death toll in nursing homes.

Cuomo denied the claim, stating, "No, the short answer is no." He attributed the criticism to hindsight bias, comparing it to making the New York Jets champions in retrospect. He recounted the confusion and misinformation that prevailed at the onset of the pandemic, from its origins in China to its spread to Europe and eventually New York.

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He explained that the state was bracing for a massive influx of COVID-19 patients, with projections indicating a need for 150,000 hospital beds, while only 50,000 were available.

Maher interjected, "You did it to free up beds," to which Cuomo agreed, explaining that the fear of running out of hospital beds led to the decision. He clarified that only patients deemed medically stable and tested were sent back to nursing homes, provided the nursing homes could adequately care for them without endangering other residents.

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Maher then brought up another point of contention - the alleged underreporting of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes by the Cuomo administration. He explained that deaths of nursing home residents who were rushed to the hospital and subsequently died there were not counted as nursing home deaths. Maher pointed out that critics believe this miscounting was intentional.

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Cuomo defended his administration's data collection and reporting process, explaining that they collected and displayed daily data from hospitals and nursing homes. He acknowledged that the question of how many nursing home residents died in hospitals was a different one, and it took the state controller a year to audit and determine the answer.

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When Maher asked if Cuomo would have done anything differently, the former governor responded that he would have included the number of nursing home residents who died in hospitals in the initial data, had he known it would become a point of interest.

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Scott Galloway, an author and professor at New York University, attempted to ease the scrutiny on Cuomo, suggesting that some grace and forgiveness should be extended given the lack of knowledge about the virus in its early stages. Cuomo agreed, citing early misinformation from various sources, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the lack of understanding about the virus's transmission and its varying effects on different age groups.

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Cuomo concluded by stating that the virus was introduced into nursing homes by staff members before the presence of the virus was even known in the state. Maher likened the situation to a war, where difficult decisions have to be made, and their outcomes are only known in hindsight.

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Cuomo has faced allegations of concealing critical COVID-19 data from the public while writing his book "American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic," which was seen as a premature celebration of his pandemic response.

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