One of the hottest of the pandemic’s hotspots — New York’s nursing homes — were compelled by a state regulation to take in recovering coronavirus victims, many of whom were likely still contagious.
The implication of this rule — which was apparently strictly enforced and similar to the order issued by California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration — was that facilities filled with exactly the most vulnerable population had no choice but to admit carriers of the contagion. The results of this blunder were as brutal as they were predictable. As of last week, New York’s Health Department estimated the number of nursing home patients who had died of COVID-19 to be 3,500, a total representing more than 20 percent of all the state’s fatalities.
As reports of the suffering going on in nursing homes made clear, what happened was not a function of demography or chance. The March 25 order handed down by Cuomo’s Health Department mandating that nursing homes could not reject those recovering from the illness set in motion the events that inflated the state’s COVID-19 death tolls.