CBS This Morning has been covering for Andrew Cuomo for months, desperately hiding news about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s disastrous policy of forcing nursing homes to take corona patients. On Wednesday, the program covered the story, but only as a way of bashing red state Florida for the system it set up.
Reporter David Begnaud explained, “I don't know if you know this, but here in the U.S. more than 40,000 nursing home residents are believed to have died from the coronavirus and 6,500 deaths happened in the state of New York. There are hearings being held in New York to address those deaths and the policies that may have led to some of them.”
No, Mr. Begnaud. Viewers might not know. Because on May 18, CBS This Morning did a story on the “devastating toll” of COVID and never mentioned the decision by Cuomo. On June 25, the show did another story about nursing homes and corona. Again, no mention of the Democratic governor. .
Begnaud reported on Wednesday: “Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Department of Health have been criticized for directing those facilities back in March to take in coronavirus patients to relieve stress on the hospitals. After backlash they added a requirement, that was in may, that hospitals could not discharge patients unless they tested negative.”
He told viewers: “In New York, around 6,500 people are briefed to have died of the coronavirus in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.” All of this, however, seemed to be a way of criticizing Florida for what seems like a similarly questionable decision:
But after seeing what happened in New York, you have families now who have relatives here in Florida who are worried with the fact that the state of Florida is allowing nursing homes to accept COVID-positive patients.
So now that Florida has problems, it’s okay to talk about New York’s disaster? In late July, ABC devoted 16 minutes to COVID, but had nothing on New York and Cuomo.
CBS’s attempt at misdirection on the nursing home story was sponsored by Chase. Click on the link to let them know how you feel.
A transcript of the segment is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CBS This Morning
TONY DOKOUPIL: Welcome back to CBS This Morning. There is growing concern about a spike in coronavirus cases at long-term care facilities like nursing homes where vulnerable elderly people are at a higher risk of death. In Florida, more than 5,800 people currently in long-term care facilities are COVID positive. Around 2,500 people have died. Last month, Florida's Governor declared 23 long-term care facilities as COVID-19 isolation centers where patients are sent to recover. Our lead national correspondent David Begnaud is following this from Key Biscayne. Good morning.
DAVID BEGNAUD: Good morning. I don't know if you know this, but here in the U.S. more than 40,000 nursing home residents are believed to have died from the coronavirus, and 6,500 deaths happened in the state of New York. There are hearings being held in New York to address those deaths and the policies that may have led to some of them. But after seeing what happened in New York, you have families now who have relatives here in Florida who are worried with the fact that the state of Florida is allowing nursing homes to accept COVID-positive patients.
DANIELLE COHEN (grandfather in FL nursing home): This is reckless. It is potentially lethal.
BEGNAUD: Danielle Cohen is on a self-described crusade in the state of Florida to end a practice that she says is putting the state's elderly, who live in nursing homes, in potential danger.
COHEN: I don't think that there should be a conscious decision to bring COVID into the building.
BEGNAUD: : Cohen's 98-year-old grandfather lives at the TARMAC rehabilitation and health center in Broward county, that's in southern Florida. It is one of 23 COVID isolation centers that have entered an arrangement with the state to house and treat patients. Four of those facilities are dedicated to only covid patients, while in the other 19, patients are supposed to be secluded from current residents.
MARY MAYHEW (FL Agency for Health care Administration Secretary): I certainly understand the concern that any family member would have, but I am equally committed to ensuring the safety of our residents in these facilities.
BEGNAUD: Mary Mayhew leads Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration. They oversee all of the isolation centers in the state. How much do these facilities receive money-wise from the state to take in these patients?
MAYHEW: We are paying a rate for their vacant beds to make sure that those beds are available. And then we are paying them for anyone who is on medicaid, we are paying them a higher medicaid reimbursement rate. Otherwise, most of these individuals are Medicare.
BEGNAUD: According to state data, the isolation centers receive around $325 a day per COVID patient. At Cohen's grandfather's facility, 21 COVID patients currently reside there. In a statent, TAMARAC said “it is providing excellent care,” adding that it follows all CDC guidelines and has a separate entrance and air flow and a designated team.
COHEN: We all know what went down in New York just a few months before. Why are we tempting fate?
BEGNAUD: In New York, around 6,500 people are briefed to have died of the coronavirus in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
ANDREW CUOMO: They have to readmit COVID-positive residents, but only if they have the ability to provide the adequate level of care.
BEGNAUD: Governor Andrew Cuomo and the department of health have been criticized for directing those facilities back in March to take in coronavirus patients to relieve stress on the hospitals. After backlash they added a requirement, that was in may, that hospitals could not discharge patients unless they tested negative.
COHEN: My mission is to get justice for the seniors that died.
BEGNAUD: Back in January, Vivian Zayas' 78-year-old mother Anna began temporarily living at New York's Our Lady of Consolation Nursing and Rehabilitative Care Center on Rhode Island. A former employee who asked to remain anonymous alleges that the facility took in COVID-positive patients in March and April. And in some cases, residents were allegedly exposed by being put in rooms with COVID-positive patients or through staff treating both. Anna died April 1st, just hours after being diagnosed with the virus. Zayas believes her mother was infect the by someone who brought the virus into the facility. She is suing the nursing home. For everyone who will watch this story, what's the takeaway?
VIVIAN ZAYAS: If you can care for your parents at home, do so.
BEGNAUD: At least 39 residents at Our Lady of Consolation have died since March 1st. In a statement, the facility strongly denied any improper treatment and told us that it cannot comment on pending litigation or the care provided to any individual. But said it is dedicated to delivering high quality, compassionate care. New York's Department of Public Health tells that based on the anonymous claim we told you about a moment ago from that former employee, they will be launching an investigation into the facility. They say any facility that does not isolate COVID patients from residents would be in violation of public health law. An adviser with the governor's COVID task force also told us that based on self-reported data, the virus was already at that facility well before the March policy that required nursing homes to accept COVID patients. What's your message to the people of Florida?
Vivian ZAYAS: Don't put COVID-19-positive patients in nursing homes.
BEGNAUD: In Florida, Cohen's grandfather, a World War II veteran, is now fighting coronavirus along with 43 other residents. He was diagnosed before the facility started accepting coronavirus patients.
COHEN: I feel like there still are thousands of Floridians who are at risk from this policy, and someone needs to stand up for them.