Where would New York be in the time of pandemic if not for his leadership?
By Marivir R. Montebon
New York – Some Filipinos here thought that the ongoing investigation of Gov. Cuomo’s underreporting of covid19 related deaths from nursing homes were hypocritical and ungrateful for his leadership efforts.
The New York State is under fire for not reporting about 50% of the deaths due to covid19 emanating from nursing homes.
Potri Ranka Manis, a registered nurse and founder of the cultural group Kinding Sindaw said that the nursing home situation could not be blamed on Cuomo alone. She said that the underreporting of the covid19 deaths may be systemic, for lack of test results information early during the lockdown.
Manis has bedside experience as a nurse at various nursing homes and hospitals in New York. She has also worked at the epidemiology department.
“March 2020 was a time of chaos. There were already massive deaths in nursing homes which were yet undiagnosed because the covid19 testing was not yet implemented by the Federal government. The CDC and the WHO were uncertain with their protocols. The infection control precautions were imposed late March. The former president was in denial and called the pandemic a hoax. The problem was systemic, but the Governor stuck his neck and took action,” explained Manis.
A report from Associated Press said that “The new number of 9,056 recovering patients sent to hundreds of nursing homes is more than 40% higher than what the state health department previously released. And it raises new questions as to whether a March 25 directive from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration helped spread sickness and death among residents, a charge the state disputes.”
Richard Mollot, the executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition, a residents advocacy group was quoted in the AP report as saying, “the lack of transparency and the meting out of bits of important data has undermined our ability to both recognize the scope and severity of what’s going on and address it.”
Republicans have called for Cuomo’s resignation and stripping off of his emergency powers in the light of the underreporting controversy. His administration had allowed patients from hospitals to be returned to nursing homes, and believed to be the cause of the spread of covid19.
Manis, on the other hand, said that the charges of non-transparency against Cuomo could be politically motivated. “The Republicans were the ones in denial, like the former president, didn’t do much to be of immediate help. And now they criticize,” she added.
“The leadership’s lack of transparency was a misstep. Correct information is necessary in the formulation of correct policy,” remarked lawyer Licelle Cobrador.
Cuomo took full responsibility for not reporting the cases as the nursing homes fast enough. “The void of information has created skepticism, cynicism, and conspiracy theories,” he said in a public statement. He admitted to not reporting quickly, but without any intent to underreport he said Monday.
In early March, nurses in New York were scrambling for Personal Protective Equipment to which Manis believed added to the spread of the coronavirus. “We frontliners got infected because of the PPE deficit. But where can you find a governor who took time to talk to us frontliners and seek our suggestions to solve the problem? If not for Cuomo, I don’t know where New York would be at,” she said.#