The New York Death Toll

Why has New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s health department worked so hard for so long to prevent accurate disclosure of Covid deaths among residents of the state nursing home? The governor has presented the scandal merely as a debate about the categorization of deaths while rejecting the idea that his policies increase mortality. It will be harder to maintain its position following the release of a new study by New York’s Empire Center for Public Policy Thursday.

Readers will remember that this is the Empire Center Think tank that spent months trying Getting Covid data out of Mr Cuomo’s government which offered a series of incredible excuses for refusing to disclose it. Finally on February 10th – six months after the Empire Center filed a motion under the state’s Freedom of Information Act, five months after suing the government, and a week after a state court ruled that the Cuomo government violated the law and approved it ordered to get clean – Team Cuomo was finally starting to cough up some of the records.

The Empire Center’s new analysis of long-hidden data suggests that a key Cuomo policy had disastrous results in the spring of 2020. After reviewing the information on deaths in long-term care facilities, Bill Hammond and Ian Kingsbury of the Empire Center report::

The admission of coronavirus-positive patients to New York nursing homes under the guidance of the New York State Department of Health March 25 has been linked to a statistically significant increase in resident deaths. The data shows that each new admission of a COVID-positive patient correlated with 0.09 additional deaths, with a margin of error (MOE) of plus or minus 0.05. In addition, admitting any number of new COVID positive patients was associated with an average of 4.2 additional deaths per facility (MOE plus or minus 1.9).

The study clearly suggests that Cuomo policies cost lives, and not just some of them. According to the authors:

Nationwide, the results indicate that COVID-positive new admissions between the end of March and the beginning of May (6,327) were linked to several hundred and possibly more than 1,000 additional deaths. This analysis – based on the limited data available – sheds new light on the Cuomo government’s much-discussed March 25 guidance instructing nursing homes not to admit coronavirus-positive patients discharged from hospitals deny. The policy – inspired by concerns about overcrowding in hospitals at the height of the New York spring wave – was effectively lifted on May 10th.

The Empire Center’s findings are in direct contradiction to statements made by the Cuomo Department of Health last July – even when officials refused to disclose the underlying data that would have enabled the public to evaluate Cuomo claims.

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