THE YOUNG ANDY CUOMO CHRONICLES

OPINIONS, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF ISSUES CONFRONTING US IN OUR TIMES
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Re: THE YOUNG ANDY CUOMO CHRONICLES

Post by thelivyjr » Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:40 p

"Demonstrators rally outside court for couple arrested while recording police"

Steve Hughes, Albany, New York Times Union

Updated: June 17, 2020 2:41 p.m.

ALBANY — Kimani Addison and Desiree Shuman, the local couple arrested after they used their phones to record the arrest of another man two weeks ago, went to City Court Tuesday expecting to have the charges against them formally dropped.

But Addison's court date was postpone and Shuman's case isn't even in the court's records system.


Neither knew about the status of their case before they headed to court as instructed after their June 2 arrests.

Addison said he was frustrated no one had let him know his court date was moved and questioned what happened to the charges against Shuman.

"Let's figure out what this due process of law really means," he said after he left the courthouse.

According to court documents reviewed by the Times Union, the police department never filed paperwork with the court system to charge Shuman.

In the paperwork filed against Addison accusing him of inciting a riot, the arresting officer, Det. Michael Fargione, said Addison screamed, "That's why we need to revolt like last night."

The Times Union reviewed three videos of the incident and in none of them was Addison heard saying that phrase.

Instead, after Fargione told Addison to shut his mouth, Addison repeatedly yelled at him, "I can say what I want."

Judge Joshua Farrell also wrote a letter to Albany police Chief Eric Hawkins telling him that in his June 9 letter to the court requesting that it drop all charges against the two, he didn't indicate that he provided Addison or Shuman with a copy, which meant the court couldn't consider his request.

Addison's court date was moved to July 13.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the court system isn't doing arraignments for people who aren't in custody.

Dozens of couple's supporters used the court appearances as a reason to rally against police brutality and misconduct with over 60 people gathering to demonstrate outside the Morton Avenue courthouse Tuesday morning.

"It's early but we're all out here and that shows we're not going to stop until we get justice," said Legacy Casanova, a Schenectady organizer who joined the protest.

Once Addison and Shuman emerged from court, demonstrators marched to the office of Albany County District Attorney David Soares, escorted by city police vehicles.

Outside Soares' office, demonstrators chanted, "David, come outside," and promised that the demonstrations and protests would continue until they saw substantive changes, including charging the officers involved in Addison's and Shuman's arrest.

The group then marched back to the courthouse for a prayer before breaking up.

Albany police said Tuesday an internal review of the incident is still ongoing.

Addison and Shuman were arrested shortly after they began recording the arrest of another man near the intersection of South Pearl and Arch streets.

The incident took place days after several rallies - including two that featured clashes between police and protesters - were held in Albany to call for police reforms and an end to police brutality after the May 25 killing of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.


Police told Addison he was too close to the officers who were making the arrest.

Addison said he initially backed up several feet to meet a detective's demands but eventually objected when the detective kept insisting he move even further away.

Addison and the detective exchanged words before the detective and several other officers grabbed Addison and arrested him.

Police accused Addison of inciting a riot and resisting arrest.

He says he was simply trying to exercise his rights by recording an arrest during a time fraught with tension over police brutality and used profanity in frustration.

Before he was taken into custody, Addison said he was punched by an officer and shocked with a Taser.

The incident occurred near the police department's South Station where police and protesters clashed on May 30.

Shuman was also accused of resisting arrest.

As videos of the arrest surfaced, Mayor Kathy Sheehan said she was troubled by the behavior of police and the city announced the charges would be dropped.

The case was referred to the police department’s Office of Professional Standards.

“The video footage does not appear to depict efforts by police to de-escalate a situation, nor it does it depict the sensitivity I expect from all city employees in this moment and every day,” she said.


Steve is the Times Union's morning cop reporter. He's previously reported for papers in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Utica and Cortland. Originally from Syracuse, he's a 2010 graduate from SUNY Geneseo.

Reach him at 518-454-5438

https://www.timesunion.com/news/article ... 343291.php

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Re: THE YOUNG ANDY CUOMO CHRONICLES

Post by thelivyjr » Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:40 p

"Hawkins: Small group responsible for Albany violence - Police chief says Thursday that they know who perpetrators are"

Steve Hughes. Albany, New York Times Union

June 25, 2020 | Updated: June 26, 2020 8:40 a.m.

ALBANY —A small group of violent criminals took advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on law enforcement to unleash an unprecedented level of gun violence in Albany, Police Chief Eric Hawkins said Thursday.

"We had three months where we were not able to operate as we usually would and it wasn't anyone's fault."


"It simply was not safe to operate as usual," Hawkins told reporters at police headquarters during a news conference with Mayor Kathy Sheehan.

"So we had a number of individuals in this community who seized an opportunity to engage in this sort of violence and we have identified them."

Sheehan and Hawkins spoke after five people were shot, two fatally, on Wednesday.

An elderly woman was in critical conditions after being struck in the neck in a drive-by shooting on Quail Street.

A man was also injured in that shooting and a 16-year-old was injured in a separate shooting on Clinton Street.

Since June 18, 25 people have been shot in the city.


During the news conference, they promised residents would see more officers on the street after Hawkins requested assistance Wednesday from the State Police and Albany County Sheriff's Department.

But their big focus is on intervention and other steps the city has previously used to tamp down and prevent the cycle of retaliatory shootings, they said.

Sheehan said officials will be focusing their attention on "those individuals who are committing this violence and the groups that they are affiliated with."

She said the city will fill '"gaps" that were not being filled.

She said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, interventions to stop violence, such as visits with people on probation, could not happen.

She also called on community and religious leaders in the city to do what they can to help the city as it heads in to the summer.

"We need everybody to be coming together to utilize whatever resources they have at their disposal to ensure we’re engaging young people and keeping people engaged this summer," she said.

"This is not something any one entity can deal with or do on their own."

Sixty people have been shot so far this year in the city and eight have been killed, including four within the last week.

The city had four homicides in 2019.


A series of feuds over drugs, social media slights, and perceived disrespect is driving a cycle of violence where groups are retaliating against each other, Hawkins said.

The department was making progress in their investigations and moving toward arresting those involved, he said.

"We have an idea of what some of the underlying issues are and right now we are in the enforcement mode," Hawkins said.

"I think it's important for our community to know that what we are seeing right now ....is a very small group of individuals who are responsible for a very large percentage of the violence that we're seeing in our community."

"The violence that we're seeing is appalling, it's unacceptable and it will not be tolerated."

On Thursday, police also identified both of Wednesday's homicide victims but no arrests have been made yet.

In Wednesday's first homicide, surveillance video reviewed by the Times Union shows Nyjawuan Thomas, 21 of Troy, driving a U-Haul pickup truck down South Pearl Street, being pursued by a black Jeep.

Thomas tried to turn east on to Morton Avenue but hit a van, crashing in to a light pole outside the Albany County office building .

The Jeep managed to make the right turn on to Morton Avenue and as Thomas ran from the crashed truck, his killer fired, striking him in the back.

Thomas fell to the sidewalk, lying halfway in the road.

A passerby stopped to check on Thomas but the Jeep turned back on to South Pearl Street, pulled up alongside Thomas and his killer fired several more times before speeding off.

In the second fatal shooting, police said Eddie Richardson, 23, was shot near Second Avenue and Grandview Terrace.

He was taken to Albany Medical Hospital where he died.

Police also said they arrested a man who allegedly fired several shots Wednesday evening but didn't injure any one.

Kareem Alston, 32, was charged with two counts of criminal possession of weapon and reckless endangerment after he fired several shots at people near Ontario and Third streets.

Sheehan and Hawkins were not the only city officials in the region attempting to calm residents' fears on Thursday.

In Troy, Mayor Patrick Madden and Police Chief Brian Owens issued a statement after a series of shootings and stabbings in the city, asking for residents' help in solving the crimes.

“Additional patrols and resources, including our (Rensselaer) county, state and federal partners, are being deployed to investigate recent violent incidents in our city, but additional help from the community is critical for successful investigations," Owens said.

Written By Steve Hughes

Steve is the Times Union's morning cop reporter. He's previously reported for papers in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Utica and Cortland. Originally from Syracuse, he's a 2010 graduate from SUNY Geneseo.

Reach him at 518-454-5438

https://www.timesunion.com/news/article ... ief&stn=nf

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Re: THE YOUNG ANDY CUOMO CHRONICLES

Post by thelivyjr » Thu Jul 09, 2020 1:40 p

"New York DOH report says state blameless for nursing home deaths - Commissioner says data shows infections happened before controversial transfer policy"

Chris Bragg, Albany, New York Times Union

July 6, 2020 | Updated: July 6, 2020 6:25 p.m.

ALBANY — A report released Monday by the state Department of Health sought to absolve the agency of blame for more than 6,000 deaths in New York nursing homes from COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said at a press conference Monday morning that a controversial memo issued by the agency on March 25 that disallowed nursing homes from denying admission or readmission to residents based solely on a positive or suspected COVID-19 diagnosis was not to blame for what stands as the nation's highest nursing home death toll.


If a COVID-19-positive patient at a hospital was medically stable and needed nursing home care, many nursing homes believed the directive required them to accept that person.

The policy has been criticized by Cuomo critics, as well as in media reports, as the cause of the widespread infection rate among a highly vulnerable elderly population.

But the DOH report argues the deaths occurred because staff working at the homes had brought the infection into the facilities, at a time when the spread of coronavirus within the state was unknown.

That conclusion was supported in the report by data that showed the peak of nursing home deaths occurred a week before the peak of nursing home admissions of patients who had tested positive for COVID-19; the peak of infections of nursing home staff similarly tracked with peak mortality for residents.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, at a press conference that began soon after Zucker's ended, blasted critics who attributed the deaths to his administration’s policy.

“That has no basis in fact,” Cuomo said.

“It was pure politics and it was ugly politics."

"And now the report has the facts, and the facts tell the exact opposite story.”


As Cuomo has received national attention and praise for his daily briefings on the pandemic, Republicans smarting from criticism of the Trump administration's handling of the crisis have seized on the nursing home deaths to allege fatal mismanagement by New York's executive branch.

GOP members of the U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus are seeking information from the Cuomo administration about the nursing home directive.

According to the Cuomo administration report, which was based on data submitted by nursing homes, 37,500 nursing home staff members in New York – or about one in four overall – were infected between March and early June.

Of those, about 7,000 were working in facilities in March.

The peak number of nursing home deaths arrived on April 8, according to the report.

Because the time from infection to death ranges between 18 and 25 days, the report suggests that residents were likely infected by staff in mid-March — before the DOH order went into effect on March 25.

The report also stated there was a “high likelihood” that visitors to nursing home residents played a role in sparking COVID-19 infections before Cuomo suspended such visits on March 13 — although the report acknowledges there is no data to back up that claim.

Meanwhile, according to the report, 6,326 COVID-positive patients were admitted to nursing home facilities between March 25 and May 8.

But while the peak date for admissions based on the DOH memo was April 14, according to the report, the peak date for deaths was actually six days earlier, on April 8.

“If admissions were driving fatalities,” the report stated, “the order of peak fatalities and peak admissions would have been reversed.”

Zucker said he did not believe the DOH policy was responsible for deaths, but declined to comment on a recent ProPublica report that concluded states that adopted policies similar to New York’s had significantly higher number of nursing home deaths when compared to states like Florida, which barred hospitals from transferring positive patients to nursing homes.

“I would have to go back and look at that data,” Zucker said.


Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin, a Republican and frequent Cuomo critic, has touted the fact that he defied the DOH directive — and that there were no subsequent COVID-19 deaths at his county-run, 320-person nursing home, Van Rensselaer Manor.

The DOH report also stated that nursing home residents who were transferred to hospitals after displaying COVID-19 symptoms before being transferred back to their nursing homes stayed at those hospitals a median length of nine days.

According to the report, nine days after first showing symptoms a patient would no longer be infectious, another matter of timing that Zucker said buttressed the administration’s contention that the March 25 order was not responsible for nursing home deaths.

Asked on Monday if his administration could have done anything differently, Cuomo pinned the blame wholly on the federal government for not raising the alarm in December or January about the spread of COVID-19 to the U.S. from China and Europe.

By March 1, when New York had its first confirmed case, the disease had already spread widely here, Cuomo said.

“They should have said the virus was here when it was here,” Cuomo said.

“I don’t do global pandemics; I don’t have an international health department.”


While New York has the highest nursing home death toll in the country, the Cuomo administration has noted a New York Times finding that the state’s nursing home deaths, as a percentage of total COVID-19 deaths, are 46th in the country.

New York’s percentage is, however, driven down by the fact that it also has by far the country’s highest overall total number of COVID-19 deaths.

Robert Ortt, who only recently took over leadership of the state Senate's Republican minority, lambasted what he called Cuomo and Zucker's "continual attempts to distort reality" as an "insult to every New Yorker" who lost a loved one to the virus in a nursing home, long-term care or assisted living facility.

"The Cuomo administration now blames family members and dedicated staff instead of their botched March 25 directive that sent COVID-19 positive patients walking into the door," Ortt said in a statement.

"The Cuomo administration’s failure to accept responsibility for their disastrous response has been outrageous, but to blame family members who have suffered devastating losses — who were not even able to say goodbye at funerals — is the ultimate low."


Ort repeated his call for an independent investigation into the nursing homes deaths instead of a report "issued by the Cuomo administration and their allies."

State Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat who won election in 2018 with Cuomo's backing, is investigating the conduct of nursing homes; while that probe is being conducted in conjunction with DOH, it will not look into the agency's actions.

Manhattan Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, the Democratic chairman of the body's health committee, has called for an investigation by an independent counsel appointed by James that would probe both nursing homes and the state government's actions.


Written By Chris Bragg

Chris Bragg is a political and investigative reporter for the Capitol bureau and contributor to Capitol Confidential. You can reach him at cbragg@timesunion.com or (518) 454-5303.

https://www.timesunion.com/news/article ... 389060.php

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Re: THE YOUNG ANDY CUOMO CHRONICLES

Post by thelivyjr » Thu Jul 09, 2020 1:40 p

"Churchill: No, Cuomo isn't off the hook for state's nursing home order - New York's Department of Health issued a report absolving the controversial state mandate of blame. But the report is fatally flawed."

Chris Churchill, Albany, New York Times Union

July 8, 2020 | Updated: July 9, 2020 10 a.m.

ALBANY — A state Department of Health report says New York's order requiring nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients is not to blame for the staggering number of deaths among their elderly residents.

Well, OK.

We've got our answer.

The controversy is put to bed and sleeping soundly.

We can move on.

Right?

Of course not.

Anyone with a cursory understanding of New York government under Andrew Cuomo knows state investigations will always point blame elsewhere and never direct fire inward.

That's the unfortunate reality.


Remember the Moreland Commission, the panel created by the governor and charged with investigating corruption?

When its members starting peeking under rocks the governor didn't want lifted, Cuomo shut the whole thing down.

So there was no chance a Department of Health investigation into the March 25 nursing home order was going to fault the controversial decision endorsed and defended by Cuomo — even though New York has the highest COVID-19 nursing home death toll in the country.

"It's like an arsonist investigating his own arson," said Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin, an early critic of the nursing home order who described the state's findings as "a total whitewash."

The report, issued Monday, says the order forcing nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients couldn't have been the reason for the 6,300 deaths (at least) tied to the facilities because of the timing.

It found that the peak of deaths in nursing homes came before the peak of their admissions of COVID-19 patients.

The report also says nursing home deaths coincided with the peak of infections for nursing home employees.

Therefore, the employees are the ones who must have introduced the virus to nursing homes — and the state is off the hook!

The governor wasted no time in blasting those who'd suggested otherwise.

"It was pure politics and it was ugly politics," Cuomo said.

"And now the report has the facts, and the facts tell the exact opposite story."

Sorry, but claiming that criticism of the nursing home mandate is purely political is not just false, but rips a page from the cynical playbook worn thin by, among others, President Donald Trump.

Discredit the motives of the messenger and you blunt the message.

Sure, some of the heat on nursing homes has come from frequent Cuomo critics such as McLaughlin or U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, both Republicans.

But Democrats have also faulted the nursing home order, as did investigations by respected news outlets such as ProPublica and the Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, PolitiFact has rated Cuomo's claim that the order simply followed federal guidelines as "mostly false."

But what about those "facts" in the report?

Do they really absolve the state of blame?

Not at all.

Bill Hammond, director of health policy at the Empire Center for Public Policy in Albany, has discovered that New York's count of nursing home deaths omits residents who were transferred to hospitals before they died.

He knows of no other state that tallies the number that way.

New York is therefore undercounting, perhaps dramatically, the real nursing home toll.

The "fact" — 6,300 deaths — at the heart of the Department of Health report is faulty, which means its conclusions are also flawed.

(Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for the governor, did not respond to a question about how the state tallies nursing home deaths.)

An honest and thorough report, Hammond said, would have started by reporting an accurate number of deaths tied to nursing homes.

That the Department of Health ducked so important a question, he added, suggests the report was not actually an attempt at uncovering the truth.

(Shocking, I know.)

"I think the report puts way too much emphasis on protecting the governor's reputation and not enough emphasis on protecting public health," Hammond said.

"That undermines the whole thing."


The suggestion here isn't that sweeping conclusions of the state report are entirely wrong.

It is likely true that nursing home employees introduced the virus into some facilities, perhaps more than initially believed.

But it is also likely true that the state mandate did the same — and was therefore a terrible mistake.

But we still don't have firm answers, which is why Hammond is among those who have called for a truly independent investigation of New York's coronavirus response and the nursing home order.

So are some Democrats and Republicans in the state Legislature.

A real investigation is more necessary than ever now, simply because the Department of Health report should not be the final word.

Its findings are potentially dangerous.


By so conclusively absolving the state policy of blame, it opens the door for a repeat of the nursing home order in a second wave of the coronavirus or during future pandemics.

It potentially puts nursing home residents at unnecessary risk.

Again.

cchurchill@timesunion.com ■ 518-454-5442 ■ @chris_churchill

Written By Chris Churchill

Churchill is one of the most well-known names, and faces, at the Times Union. His columns - published on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays - are shared heavily on social media and have won several awards. Churchill studied English and history at the University of Texas before beginning his journalism career at small weeklies in Maine, later working at the Biddeford Journal Tribune, Waterville Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal newspapers. He started at the Times Union as a business writer in 2007 and became a columnist in 2012. Reach him at cchurchill@timesunion.com or 518-454-5442.

https://www.timesunion.com/news/article ... 394441.php

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Re: THE YOUNG ANDY CUOMO CHRONICLES

Post by thelivyjr » Fri Jul 10, 2020 1:40 p

"Independence of New York's nursing home report faces scrutiny - Calls for third-party review of pandemic's impact on nursing homes continues"

Amanda Fries, Albany, New York Times Union

July 9, 2020 | Updated: July 9, 2020 4:37 p.m.

ALBANY — When New York released a study absolving the state as well as nursing homes and other health care facilities of blame for the more than 6,000 COVID-related nursing home deaths, health care industry leaders quickly confirmed the state’s findings in statements issued by the administration of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

But many of those leaders have close ties with Cuomo’s administration and have benefited from policies and contracts in New York state, calling into question the independence of those reviewing the report.


“This is by no means peer-reviewed,” said Bill Hammond, director of health policy for the Empire Center, a fiscally conservative think tank based in Albany.

“Usually you submit a paper to a journal and they pick the experts, and try to find experts that don’t have a relationship with you."

"The idea that you would be allowed to pick two to three people you happen to like and who also are dependent on (state) funding - that’s just ridiculous.”

That’s why Hammond and many others, including some state policymakers and federal lawmakers, are calling for an independent investigation that would ensure unbiased conclusions.

Republican leaders in the state Senate and Assembly blasted the report and contend the blame for the high number of deaths is a March 25 executive order issued by Cuomo requiring nursing homes to accept residents even if they had tested positive for coronavirus — with many returning to the facilities after being discharged from hospitals.

Cuomo's administration has defended the order, claiming it followed federal guidance and that nursing homes that weren't equipped to safely handle those residents — including quarantining them — should not have done so.

“It’s not only the March 25 directive that led to this disastrous and deadly outcome,” Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt said in an emailed statement following the report’s release.

“An independent investigation is needed to understand what went wrong to provide answers to families and to help our nursing homes deal with infection control, not a report issued by the Cuomo administration and their allies.”

The state study dismissed any connections to the policy and the number of deaths, instead pointing to the staff working in the homes and bringing the infectious disease into the facilities at a time before the spread of coronavirus within the state was known.

It also absolved the health care industry of any blame on the quality of care given — a finding that comes after that industry was afforded special protections in the state budget passed in April for claims filed against nursing homes for its handling of coronavirus cases.

New York has proportionately had the second-highest number of nursing home deaths in the nation behind New Jersey, although the state's 6,432 fatalities in those facilities do not include nursing home residents who contracted COVID-19 and later died after being transferred to a hospital.

More than 6,000 elderly residents with COVID-19 were transferred from hospitals to nursing homes between March 25 and May 10, when the order was rescinded.

That period also marked the height of the pandemic in New York.

Cuomo's administration has dismissed criticism of the report as politically motivated.

It also continues to stress that the data proves the March 25 directive was not the main driver in COVID-19 infections and deaths in nursing homes.

“When you look at the attacks on this report — red-face, partisan attacks — the Empire Center and the Manhattan Institute are part of whatever crazy industrial complex that the Republican Party is trying to use to avoid and deflect from the many, many failings of this federal government in this pandemic,” Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi said.


Jim Clyne, who is president of LeadingAge New York and reviewed the report after Health Commissioner Howard Zucker announced the findings this week, said the focus on the March 25 order has distracted from other pressing issues nursing homes faced.

“The main issue was how do you get PPE (personal protective equipment), how do you get more testing and how do you keep your staff for the issues we were struggling with."

"Not whether we were going to take discharges from the hospitals,” he said.

“Many of my members felt very strongly and didn’t need a governor’s order, they were going to take (residents) back no matter what because it’s their home.”

However, Clyne acknowledged the policy may have played a role in the level of deaths but stressed that many factors contributed to the situation, which he said needs to be discussed further to plan for the future.

While LeadingAge — which represents nonprofit nursing homes — does not have the entanglements with the state like the other industry leaders quoted in the news release issued by the state Health Department on Tuesday, it serves as an influential force in the state Legislature and lobbied for a law protecting nursing homes and other health care facilities from legal claims arising from the pandemic.

That law, which was tucked into the state budget, did not cover immunity on willful, criminal misconduct or gross negligence, but it likely covers harm arising from a shortage of staffing or protective equipment.

It was also drafted by the Greater New York Hospital Association — another influential lobbying group for hospitals — whose leader lauded the state’s recent report.

Kenneth Raske, president of the Greater New York Hospital Association, said in the Health Department's release this week that the report is a reminder that repeating a narrative doesn’t make it true — an apparent chide against those who have suggested taking in COVID-positive residents could have caused more deaths in nursing homes.

"There is no blame here."

"The virus was widespread far earlier than anyone knew, and we were learning about it in real time,” Raske said in the release.

“We have long believed that multiple factors, independent of admission policies, drove the number of COVID-19 deaths in New York nursing homes."

"The DOH report casts an important light on what occurred during this incredibly challenging pandemic.”


Raske has donated more than $77,000 to the governor’s campaign account in the last five years, which includes $25,000 in donations last year.

When asked for further comment Thursday, the Greater New York Hospital Association re-sent the statement Raske released earlier this week on the report and pointed to comments by clinicians dismissing the claim that the admission policy impacted deaths in nursing homes.

“Clinician after clinician told us this claim simply did not add up, and studies from the CDC and around the world found that COVID-19 patients are contagious early in their illness, when many are still hospitalized, and not when they are ready to be discharged,” he said.

Leaders at Northwell Health and Mount Sinai — who also agreed with the conclusions in the state's report — also are entangled with the state.

Northwell CEO Michael Dowling and Mount Sinai CEO David Reich have both contributed thousands of dollars to Cuomo’s campaign over the years.

Both hospitals also have contracts with New York, according to the state comptroller’s online contract portal.


Further, Dowling served on both iterations of the Medicaid Redesign Team — in 2011 and again this year — and served the governor’s father, the late-Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, in the early 1990s as deputy secretary for human services.

Requests for comment from both hospitals were not returned.

Azzopardi defended the industry leaders and pointed to other experts who he said further validated the state’s report.

“If these disingenuous political hacks are questioning the credibility of two of the premier hospital organizations in the world, and basically saying they are putting their licenses and degrees on the line, then make a complaint,” Azzopardi said.

“Otherwise, knock it off.”


One of the experts - who Azzopardi provided the Times Union contact information for - also defended the state's findings, but noted that the policy could have played some role.

"The New York health department report on COVID-19 cases in nursing homes presents a strong case that the most significant means of transmission was via nursing home staff to patients due in large part to infection-control procedures which weren't rigorous enough to prevent the spread," said John Auerbach, president and CEO of the Trust for America's Health.

"While it can't be ruled out that there was some infection due to admission policies, the report provides solid evidence that such policies were not a primary source."

Still, not everyone followed the March 25 order.

Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin said his administration declined to allow any COVID-positive residents into the county-run Van Rensselaer Manor Nursing Home, a decision they contend contributed to having only one resident test positive for coronavirus at the facility.

There were also five cases of employees there testing positive, but there was no spread to the home's population and the resident who contracted the disease was quickly isolated and moved to a hospital, his office said.

Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, the Manhattan Democratic who chairs the Assembly's health committee, also said the March 25 order may not have been the key driver of infection in nursing homes, but noted the report would have been more persuasive if academic experts backed up the findings.

“If I were putting out a report on nursing homes and people being discharged from hospitals I would think I’d want people sitting next to me who were perhaps from one of New York’s schools of public health, rather than people who are deeply involved with major health care providers,” he said, adding that if the data in the state’s report is inaccurate, experts should speak up.

Critics of the report say it missed the opportunity to examine whether the early policy is something that should be practiced in the future, and state officials’ confidence in the findings should translate to a willingness for an independent review.

“It’s very simple: if everything they say is true, they should be welcoming further examination of this,” Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay said, noting that New York has had the highest number of nursing home fatalities from the virus.

“We know the outcome."

"We know it wasn’t good."

"We know New York was an outlier in nursing home deaths compared to other states."

"Why is that and what can we do to help prevent something in the future?”

Critics also expressed concern with how the state is counting nursing home deaths, which they say could be undercounts.

Stephen Hanse, president and CEO of the New York Health Facilities Association representing over 450 skilled nursing and assisted living facilities across the state, said the state report revealed that the virus is to blame and policymakers should focus on ensuring nursing homes and other senior facilities have adequate resources to address public health crises in the future.

“As we move forward, first and foremost, the lessons learned really are that nursing homes and assisted-living facilities need to receive equal priority status as hospitals based on the population we care for,” Hanse said.

The state Legislature is expected to host virtual public hearings to allow a variety of voices to weigh in on the virus’ impact on nursing homes and other health care facilities, and the state attorney general also is investigating how nursing homes responded — but that investigation is not of the Health Department's role.

New York continues to collect data on antibody testing of essential workers, Azzopardi said.

“This is not a one-off."

"We still have an investigation ongoing with the attorney general,” he said.

“Concerns may very well be addressed in other things that are going on.”

Written By Amanda Fries

Amanda Fries covers the Capitol in Albany and state government for the Times Union, focusing on the state workforce, housing, budget issues, malfeasance and other forms of corruption. She first started in June 2016 covering the city and county of Albany for the Times Union. Got a tip? Contact her at 518-454-5353 or afries@timesunion.com.

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Re: THE YOUNG ANDY CUOMO CHRONICLES

Post by thelivyjr » Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:40 p

THE CAPE CHARLES MIRROR July 10, 2020 at 6:17 pm

Paul Plante says:

And WHOA!

HALT!

STOP THE PRESSES!

A NEW OFFICIALLY-SANCTIFIED NARRATIVE HAS BEEN DEVELOPED BY APPROPRIATE AUTHORITY AND WILL HENCEFORTH SUPERSEDE AND REPLACE AS THE OFFICIAL RECORD ALL PREVIOUS VERSIONS OF THE NARRATIVE WHICH EVEN HINT THAT ANDY CUOMO OF NEW YORK WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR KILLING OLD PEOPLE IN NURSING HOMES IN NEW YORK STATE!

NEW OFFICIAL NARRATIVE FOLLOWS (Please be sure to destroy all others!):

“New York DOH report says state blameless for nursing home deaths – Commissioner says data shows infections happened before controversial transfer policy”

Chris Bragg, Albany, New York Times Union

July 6, 2020 | Updated: July 6, 2020 6:25 p.m.

ALBANY — A report released Monday by the state Department of Health sought to absolve the agency of blame for more than 6,000 deaths in New York nursing homes from COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said at a press conference Monday morning that a controversial memo issued by the agency on March 25 that disallowed nursing homes from denying admission or readmission to residents based solely on a positive or suspected COVID-19 diagnosis was not to blame for what stands as the nation’s highest nursing home death toll.

end quotes

So, short, sweet and to the point – you can’t call Howie Zucker “Dr. Death,” anymore, because he is entirely blameless for any nursing home deaths in New York state, and we know that, because Howie’s health department did a huge investigation of any and all charges that “Dr. Death” Zucker was responsible, and they found them to be entirely groundless.

Nothing to see here, people, everybody back inside, clear the streets, there is no issue.

Getting back to the new narrative that has just replaced the old narrative, we have further, as follows:

The policy has been criticized by Cuomo critics, as well as in media reports, as the cause of the widespread infection rate among a highly vulnerable elderly population.

But the DOH report argues the deaths occurred because staff working at the homes had brought the infection into the facilities, at a time when the spread of coronavirus within the state was unknown.

end quotes

Now, that statement about “at a time when the spread of coronavirus within the state was unknown” is a lot of BULL**** spread thin on a piece of stale toast, because while warned of COVID in early January 2020, on March 2, Andy Cuomo and “Dr. Death” Zucker were saying that COVID in New York was nothing to worry about, when it clearly was, which was gross negligence on their part, although neither will ever be held to account now that “Dr. Death” has absolved himself and Andy Cuomo of any blame or responsibility, whatsoever, which takes us back to the new officially sanctioned version of history, as follows:

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, at a press conference that began soon after Zucker’s ended, blasted critics who attributed the deaths to his administration’s policy.

“That has no basis in fact,” Cuomo said.

“It was pure politics and it was ugly politics.”

“And now the report has the facts, and the facts tell the exact opposite story.”

end quotes

ATTENTION!

ATTENTION!

ATTENTION, EVERYONE!

ANDY CUOMO IS COMPLETELY INNOCENT AND FREE FROM ANY GUILT IN CONNECTION WITH ANY NURSING HOME DEATHS IN NEW YORK STATE!

HOWIE ZUCKER SAYS SO, AND HOWIE ZUCKER KNOWS, BECAUSE HE IS A MEDICAL DOCTOR, AND WE ARE NOT!

Getting back to the new narrative, we have:

Asked on Monday if his administration could have done anything differently, Cuomo pinned the blame wholly on the federal government for not raising the alarm in December or January about the spread of COVID-19 to the U.S. from China and Europe.

By March 1, when New York had its first confirmed case, the disease had already spread widely here, Cuomo said.

“They should have said the virus was here when it was here,” Cuomo said.

“I don’t do global pandemics; I don’t have an international health department.”

end quotes

All of which is so much HORSE**** commingled and blended with BULL**** and leavened with HOG****, it isn’t funny, because on March 1, 2020, Andy Cuomo himself issued a Press Release entitled “Governor Cuomo Issues Statement Regarding Novel Coronavirus in New York,” wherein governor Andy stated as follows, to wit:

“This evening we learned of the first positive case of novel coronavirus — or COVID-19 — in New York State.”

“The patient, a woman in her late thirties, contracted the virus while traveling abroad in Iran, and is currently isolated in her home.”

“The patient has respiratory symptoms, but is not in serious condition and has been in a controlled situation since arriving to New York.”

“The positive test was confirmed by New York’s Wadsworth Lab in Albany, underscoring the importance of the ability for our state to ensure efficient and rapid turnaround, and is exactly why I advocated for the approval from Vice President Pence that New York was granted just yesterday.”

“There is no cause for surprise — this was expected.”

“As I said from the beginning, it was a matter of when, not if there would be a positive case of novel coronavirus in New York.”

“There is no reason for undue anxiety — the general risk remains low in New York.”

“We are diligently managing this situation and will continue to provide information as it becomes available.”

end quotes

Sounds to me like Andy is singing a vastly different song today than he was singing just four short months ago, but that is Andy, and Andy is a piece of work!

Getting back to the story once again, and the “ugly politics” as the easily-offended Andy calls it, we have:

Robert Ortt, who only recently took over leadership of the state Senate’s Republican minority, lambasted what he called Cuomo and Zucker’s “continual attempts to distort reality” as an “insult to every New Yorker” who lost a loved one to the virus in a nursing home, long-term care or assisted living facility.

“The Cuomo administration now blames family members and dedicated staff instead of their botched March 25 directive that sent COVID-19 positive patients walking into the door,” Ortt said in a statement.

“The Cuomo administration’s failure to accept responsibility for their disastrous response has been outrageous, but to blame family members who have suffered devastating losses — who were not even able to say goodbye at funerals — is the ultimate low.”

Ort repeated his call for an independent investigation into the nursing homes deaths instead of a report “issued by the Cuomo administration and their allies.”

end quotes

And indeed, there does need to be an independent investigation, but truth be told, this is corrupt New York state and that simply is not going to happen, as we see going back to the story, as follows:

State Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat who won election in 2018 with Cuomo’s backing, is investigating the conduct of nursing homes; while that probe is being conducted in conjunction with DOH, it will not look into the agency’s actions.

end quotes

Yes, people, it is all the fault of the nursing homes, period, end of sentence, and Tish is going to prove that for all to see, even if it really isn’t so!

And back to the story we go for one more time, to wit:

Manhattan Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, the Democratic chairman of the body’s health committee, has called for an investigation by an independent counsel appointed by James that would probe both nursing homes and the state government’s actions.

end quotes

And that is simply more Democrat BULL**** intended to whitewash the role the health department, “Dr. Death” Zucker and Andy Cuomo played in those nursing home deaths, calling for Tish to appoint an independent counsel to investigate Andy Cuomo and “Dr. Death” Zucker, because the Attorney general is not neutral, or unbiased, precisely because the Attorney general is the attorney for the state of New York, and the state of New York is her client, and she is not going to allow her client to be held to account in a court of law.

End of story.

Or is it?

Stay tuned.

http://www.capecharlesmirror.com/news/n ... ent-259714

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Re: THE YOUNG ANDY CUOMO CHRONICLES

Post by thelivyjr » Wed Jul 15, 2020 1:40 p

thelivyjr wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 1:40 p
GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO

March 1, 2020

Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Issues Statement Regarding Novel Coronavirus in New York

"This evening we learned of the first positive case of novel coronavirus — or COVID-19 — in New York State."

"There is no cause for surprise -- this was expected."

"As I said from the beginning, it was a matter of when, not if there would be a positive case of novel coronavirus in New York."

"There is no reason for undue anxiety -- the general risk remains low in New York."

"We are diligently managing this situation and will continue to provide information as it becomes available."


https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/govern ... s-new-york
MARKETWATCH

"New York Gov. Cuomo says President Trump has put politics above public health throughout pandemic"


By Ciara Linnane

Published: July 13, 2020 at 2:58 p.m. ET

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a scathing critique of President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, saying he has denied the reality of the situation from Day 1:

‘He said it doesn’t exist, it’s going to go away, by Easter we’ll be reopened, it’s going to go away like a miracle.'

'It didn’t go away, there was no miracle — he denied reality.’

— Andrew Cuomo .

“The federal government,” Cuomo said at a press briefing, “is committing gross negligence.”

A key factor, according to Cuomo, is that Trump is putting a political agenda over public health policy.

“It’s politically inconvenient in an election year, so he denies it,” he said.

“Except you are jeopardizing public health and losing lives by your denial and political agenda.”

Cuomo reminded reporters that Trump made a federal emergency declaration concerning COVID-19 back in March but has since left it to individual states to manage the crisis.

“If you issue a federal emergency, that means it’s a federal emergency, and who is control of a federal emergency?"

"The federal government."

"That’s why you have the word ‘federal’ in all those expressions,” he said.

Now Trump is “attacking science,” and his own health-care experts, said the governor, referring to Trump’s retweeting on Sunday of two tweets by a former game-show host, Chuck Woolery, who now hosts a conservative podcast.

Woolery, best known for his stints on the shows “Wheel of Fortune” and “Love Connection,” accused the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the media, Democrats, doctors and others of telling “outrageous lies” about the pandemic to damage Trump’s re-election chances.

Cuomo, as he spoke, flashed a picture of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the widely respected longtime head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on whom the White House appears to be seeking to pin blame.

“Now he says his own CDC officials are lying about the virus — his own CDC health officials!” said Cuomo.

“Trump’s COVID-19 scandal makes [President Richard] Nixon’s Watergate scandal look innocent.”

Nobody died in the Watergate scandal, Cuomo observed.

Cuomo issued an emergency health order Monday that will require travelers from states that are seeing spikes in COVID-19 cases to complete a location form before leaving the airport, or face a summons and $2,000 fine.

The order will be enforced in every airport in the state, and travelers will have to say where they have come from and where they are going.


The move comes after New York ordered travelers from states with high numbers of cases to self-quarantine for 14 days, an order he conceded has not been met with full compliance.

Travelers from Georgia have infected New Yorkers in at least one county.

“We can’t be in a situation where we have people coming from other states in the country bringing the virus again,” the governor said.

“It is that simple.”

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-y ... _headlines

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Re: THE YOUNG ANDY CUOMO CHRONICLES

Post by thelivyjr » Wed Jul 15, 2020 1:40 p

MARKETWATCH

"July Empire state index in positive territory for first time since pandemic began"


By Greg Robb

Published: July 15, 2020 at 9:54 a.m. ET

The numbers:

Business activity in New York state increased in July for the first time since the pandemic began in March, according to the New York Fed’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey released Wednesday.

The Empire State business conditions index rose to 17.2 in July from negative 0.2 in the prior month.

A reading above zero indicates improving conditions.

Economists had expected a reading of 8.9, according to a survey by Econoday.

What happened:

Forty-one percent of manufacturers reported that conditions were better in early July than in June, up from 36% in the prior survey.

The new-orders index rose 14.5 points to 13.9, indicating that orders increased.

Shipments climbed 15.2 points to 18.5.

The index for employees rose 3.9 points to 0.4 in July, signaling that employment levels were steady.

After jumping to a multiyear high in June, optimism about future conditions cooled a bit this month, with the index for future conditions falling 18.1 points to 38.4.

Big picture:

The Empire State index has improved steadily since hitting a record low of negative 78.2 in April.

More factories are opening, even with new health guidelines in place.

The index doesn’t measure levels of activity, just rates of change.

It is closely followed because it is the first of several regional manufacturing gauges to be released.

While they can frequently be volatile from month to month, taken together the regional indexes present one of the timeliest reads on a crucial cyclical sector.

The national ISM factory index rose to 52.6% in June from an 11-year low of 41.5% in April.

What are they saying?

“Recovery continues, but further significant near-term gains are unlikely,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

Market reaction:

U.S. stocks opened sharply higher on Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied in early morning trading.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/july- ... cle_inline

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Re: THE YOUNG ANDY CUOMO CHRONICLES

Post by thelivyjr » Thu Jul 23, 2020 1:40 p

MARKETWATCH

"New York sees increase in virus infections among 20-somethings"


By V.L. Hendrickson

Published: July 23, 2020 at 4:02 p.m. ET

More 20-something New Yorkers are testing positive for COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a news conference Thursday.

In the last two weeks, the infection rate has risen 4 points for people between 21 and 30 years old, from 9.9% to 13.2%, he announced.

It is the only age group in which infection rates increased in that time period.

Calling the uptick a “threat” to the state, Cuomo pointed to large gatherings at bars and a lack of social distancing as causes, as he has regularly done over the past week.

“This is not the time to fight for your right to party,” Cuomo said, quoting the 1980s Beastie Boys hit.

“I respect your right to party...but let’s be smart about it."

"There’s an attitude that young people are immune."

"You are not.”

Doctors have noticed the shift in the age of COVID-19 patients, according to Dr. Daniel Griffin, a practicing physician and an associate research scientist in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Columbia University.

“The dynamic of the younger population has to do with behavior,” he told MarketWatch.

“We’re seeing lots of young people out with large social circles interacting and we’re seeing spread within those communities.”

Across the general population, there were 811 new cases of the virus reported Wednesday, with an infection rate of about 1.16%, Cuomo said in the news conference.

There were 706 new hospitalizations, the lowest number since March 18, and 13 fatalities.

In total, there have been nearly 410,000 reported cases of the virus in New York and 25,081 deaths.

Cuomo has called on local law enforcement to keep large gatherings at bars at bay, and earlier this week announced liquor licenses have been suspended for a number of establishments who have not complied with state guidelines.

On Thursday, he also called on local police to enforce mandates against such gatherings.

“New York City has to enforce the law,” Cuomo said.

“The state liquor authority and the state police are going to step up their efforts dramatically, but they can’t do it without the local police.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio has also expressed concern about the uptick in cases in this age group.

Last week he announced that positive cases of the virus in 20- to 29-year-olds rose from 26.6 for every 100,000 people the first week of June, to 34.6 the week ending June 27.

Still, the city is seeing the lowest number of new cases of the virus since the pandemic began.

In addition, there hasn’t been an uptick in the infection rate since the city started reopening, the mayor said Thursday during his daily briefing.

De Blasio also announced four new testing sites in the city, and that NYC Health + Hospitals sites can now test up to 50,000 people a day.

There have been a total of 219,489 reported cases of the virus in New York City, as well as 18,839 confirmed deaths and 4,624 probable deaths, according to city data.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-y ... latestnews

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Re: THE YOUNG ANDY CUOMO CHRONICLES

Post by thelivyjr » Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:40 p

"New York spent millions on medical equipment that was never used - Cuomo administration refuses to disclose info on stockpiled supplies"

Brendan J. Lyons, Albany, New York Times Union

July 30, 2020

Updated: July 30, 2020 12:31 p.m.

ALBANY — In early April, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo warned that the state may need 40,000 ventilators and up to 150,000 hospital beds — projections that would prove to be far beyond the state's actual needs.

In response to those initial concerns, his administration began spending hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase thousands of ventilators, mobile X-ray machines and "BiPAP" breathing-assistance devices, most of which were never used.


Although the inventory of the state's medical stockpiles is arguably a matter of public record, the governor's office declined to provide details on how much medical and personal protective equipment are now in its reserves — much of it stored at large industrial warehouses in Guilderland, at Oriskany, Oneida County, and a facility in the New York City region.

The office did, however, promptly provide a breakdown of its expenditures during the pandemic, including listing $278 million to purchase more than 8,800 ventilators; $94.4 million to buy 1,179 mobile X-ray machines; and $60.7 million for more than 17,000 "oxygen concentrators" — a category the administration said encompasses the BiPAP devices.

On April 7, as the governor appeared on MSNBC to report that New York had logged a pandemic-high 800 deaths during the previous 24 hours, he said that hospitals were "over capacity" and facing a critical shortage of the ventilators used to treat critically ill coronavirus patients.

"We have been scrambling with ventilators."

"We move them all over the state like pieces on a chess board, literally whatever hospital has the greatest inflow (of patients) that night, we move ventilators around the state," he said.

"We have also used other machines that have a ventilating capacity, something called the BiPAP machine."

BiPAPs are bi-level airway pressure machines that push air into a person's lungs.

Under the state's plan, Cuomo had said, they were to be fitted with a special part that could make them function like a ventilator.

The state scrambled to acquire those machines as Cuomo cited health experts' worst-case scenarios for hospitalizations and patients who may need to be intubated.

On April 2, he announced the state had 750 BiPAPs in reserve and had purchased another 3,000 from a Pittsburgh medical supply company.

Six days later, Cuomo said a Florida company, Mercury Medical, had donated another 2,400 BiPAP machines that were being flown to New York for free by JetBlue.

But despite the governor's assertions in April that the BiPAP machines were being "used" to treat patients, they were never put into operation.

"BiPAPs, luckily, were not needed," Richard Azzopardi, an adviser and spokesman for Cuomo, acknowledged this week.

He added: "As a matter of policy we do not comment on our stockpiled supplies."

Azzopardi said the purchases were necessary at a time when the state — facing a $6.1 billion deficit before the pandemic struck — was planning for the worst, despite pushback from the White House that the governor was overstating his needs.

That discrepancy emerged in mid-April, when Cuomo and President Donald J. Trump repeatedly sparred over the levels of response as the governor cited earlier Centers for Disease Control estimates indicating there could be up to 2 million U.S. fatalities, and that New York's 56,000 available hospital beds would fall far short of its needs.

But those estimates apparently did not factor in the reduction of infection rates due to economic shutdowns, social distancing mandates and the wearing of masks by millions of people.

The president retorted that New York would not need the number of hospital beds and ventilators that Cuomo had called for, and he also criticized the state for failing to keep an adequate stockpile of ventilators.

"Cuomo ridiculously wanted '40 thousand Ventilators.'"

"We gave him a small fraction of that number, and it was plenty," Trump tweeted on April 17, as the two government leaders clashed.

"State should have had them in stockpile!"

"... We built you thousands of hospital beds that you didn't need or use, gave large numbers of ventilators that you should have had, and helped you with testing that you should be doing."

Cuomo, who countered that the federal stockpile had just 10,000 ventilators, insisted that his estimates were based on scientific projections offered by federal and other medical experts and, if they were wrong, Trump should blame them.

The president's remark about New York's hospital beds referred, in part, to a 4,000-bed field hospital the federal government swiftly built at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, which never had more than 10 percent capacity and on most days was virtually empty.

It was one of several field hospitals that Cuomo's administration had scrambled to assemble in April that saw little use.


Azzopardi, the governor's spokesman, said it was those field hospitals and potentially many more that were never built that had prompted the state to purchase more than 1,000 X-ray machines.

"These were procured at a time when the state was preparing for an apex projected to require 150,000 hospital beds and we planned on building several field hospitals — which needed to be fully equipped," he said.

"As we now know, New Yorkers crushed the curve of the virus and, thankfully, we never had to build the hospitals."

Cuomo continued to push for more ventilators and increased hospital capacity after New York and nearly all other states implemented stay-at-home orders — including closing businesses and schools — that sharply flattened the rate of infections and deaths in New York.

It was during that period that Cuomo's administration scrambled to purchase personal protective equipment, ventilators and the mobile X-ray machines, which cost an estimated $125,000 or more apiece, according to medical industry equipment suppliers.

Other expenditures included $35 million for gloves, $168 million for respirators and $4 million worth of soap.

The governor's office did not provide an exact dollar figure or quantity of the unused BiPAP machines.

"While New York was climbing the apex and projections showed we would need upwards of 150,000 hospital beds and 40,000 ventilators, Northwell Health developed a way to add a readily available part to the BiPAP that would effectively convert it into an emergency use ventilator," Azzopardi said.

"This type of conversion would only be necessary in an emergency situation and if hospitals and the state ran out of ventilators."

He added "for context" that the number of people hospitalized in New York for COVID-19 symptoms only reached a little more than 18,000 at the height of the pandemic here, and that the state "never ran out of ventilators."

With a now-ample supply of medical and protective equipment, the nation's hardest-hit state from the coronavirus is now, in Cuomo's words, returning favors to states that he said had helped New York, including sending "volunteer" health care workers here.

But those volunteers were compensated, including many at pay rates far above what New York nurses and other front-line workers here were paid.


So far, Cuomo has authorized a multitude of donations from New York's stockpiles of personal protective equipment to Houston, Atlanta, Savannah, Ga., and St. Petersburg, Fla.

Those gifts include 22,500 face shields, 26,500 gloves, 22,500 N95 masks, 3,750 gallons of sanitizer, 124,000 surgical masks and 22,500 test kits.

"I know I speak for all New Yorkers when I say we will always be grateful for that help that came to us, and we are paying back the favor today by sending PPE to St. Petersburg, where we've worked together to establish a community testing site," Cuomo said Wednesday, adding that New York would equip a testing site in Pinellas County, Fla.

"We will continue to return the favor and lend help to whoever needs it."

Azzopardi said New York's purchases and stockpiling of medical equipment came as the pandemic's grip on the world was peaking and it was unclear how many people may die or need hospitalization, including in intensive care units.

Many states sent ventilators and workers to New York as its cases soared.

“New York was hit the hardest and had to contend with a worldwide shortage of protective equipment, but when we needed it the most 30,000 front-line workers from other states stepped up and volunteered to help us through one of our darkest moments," he said.

"We never forgot that and are proud to return the favor in any way we can, while also making sure we have the resources and the PPE available to brace for a second wave."

Assembly Minority Leader William A. Barclay, a Republican from Oswego, said New York lawmakers should receive more information about how much equipment is in the state's stockpiles, and why some of it is being shipped to other states.

"If taxpayer dollars are paying for equipment that is now collecting dust or being shipped to other states, then we have questions that demand answers," Barclay said, adding that upcoming legislative hearings regarding New York's response to the pandemic "may just be the right forum."


The assemblyman also challenged the administration's position that it will not comment on or disclose information on its medical stockpiles.

The Assembly's Republican conference had pressed unsuccessfully in March for the administration to report monthly how much — and on what — it was spending what was then a $40 million emergency appropriations bill.

That unprecedented legislation also gave Cuomo sweeping emergency powers to respond to the pandemic, including changing state laws at will.

"Given all that we've gone through with COVID and what we're facing with the state's dire economic conditions, New Yorkers have every right to know this kind of basic public health and fiscal information," he said.

"Emergency response and preparedness are obviously critical, but so is a full accounting of where taxpayer resources are directed and how much of the public's money is being spent."


Written By Brendan J. Lyons

Brendan J. Lyons is a senior editor for the Times Union overseeing the Capitol Bureau and Investigations. Lyons joined the Times Union in 1998 as a crime reporter before being assigned to the investigations team. He became editor of the investigations team in 2013 and joined the Capitol Bureau in 2017. You can reach him at blyons@timesunion.com or (518) 454-5547.

https://www.timesunion.com/news/article ... ief&stn=nf

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