It’s hard to know what’s worse — the dying or the lying.
More than 32,000 New Yorkers have died from the coronavirus, a toll higher than any other state. New York also ranks second to the worst out of all 50 states, in deaths per million residents. Only New Jersey did worse.
You wouldn’t know it, listening to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who brags that his administration “tamed the beast.” Or the media that praise him and chide states with much, much lower death rates.
Cuomo is doing everything he can to coverup the errors. He’s stonewalling bipartisan efforts in Albany to investigate the deaths of thousands of elderly in nursing homes ravaged by the virus.
Legislators need to persevere, and in fact broaden their investigation to include the poor performance of many hospitals in the state. On March 2, one day after the first coronavirus case in New York was disclosed, Cuomo told New Yorkers not to worry because “we have the best health care system on the planet.” That’s a whopper. Patients treated for COVID-19 in hospitals here died at more than twice the national average. California has had more cases of coronavirus than New York, but less than a third as many deaths.
The press rarely puts the numbers in perspective, talking about positive cases but not fatality rates, increases but not totals. Looking at deaths-per-million shows the biggest impact — the biggest failure — was the Northeast. New Jersey: 1,797 deaths per million residents. New York: 1,689.
Florida, target of any number of alarmist headlines, is down at 408 per million residents. But Gov. Ron DeSantis is a Republican and unlucky enough not to have a CNN anchor as a brother.
Cuomo is praised even after he and the department of health spent years stripping New York City’s outer boroughs of sufficient hospital beds and equipment. There are five hospital beds for every 1,000 residents in Manhattan, but only 1.8 beds for every 1,000 Queens and Brooklyn residents. The result? When the pandemic struck, those hospitals were overwhelmed fast. The death rate for COVID-19 patients at Mount Sinai hospital in Manhattan was 17%. At Coney Island Hospital, 41% of COVID-19 patients didn’t make it. You might as well be in a third world country.
New York State stacks up even worse in protecting elderly nursing home residents from COVID-19. Florida and Texas, both more populous states, have had only one quarter of the number of nursing home fatalities.
Numbers don’t lie. New York didn’t crush the coronavirus. The virus took thousands of New York lives needlessly, because of the Cuomo administration’s mistakes.
Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York.