FAILING THE MOST
Like an iceberg, the most damning details of Attorney
General Letitia James’ report on COVID-
19 nursing home resident deaths in New York lie
below the surface of the most notable points.
The state Health Department, as James reported,
undercounted the COVID-19 fatalities in New York —
a subject that opponents of Governor Andrew Cuomo
have tried to weaponize against him in recent months.
The report also found that the state’s own guidance
for admitting COVID-19 positive patients into nursing
homes may have contributed to the spread.
It may be tempting for cynical partisans to read the
report and cry out, “I told you so,” but not so fast. The
fact that the undercounting happened isn’t necessarily
evidence of criminal wrongdoing — at least not yet.
In many ways, the findings about the nursing homes
themselves are far more horrific.
Too many facilities, according to James, did not
comply with infection protocols — which caused a rapid
spread of the illness among staff and patients. Workers
lacked the proper PPE and testing.
The lowest-rated nursing homes, under U.S. Centers
for Medicaid and Medicare Services Staffing reviews,
had the highest number of COVID-19 deaths. The current
state reimbursement system, James noted, also
allowed unscrupulous nursing home owners to financially
profit off the pandemic rather than focus on protecting
their clients and workers.
James’ report must propel an effort to hold those
responsible for this situation to account, and to dramatically
reform the New York nursing care industry,
across the board.
State lawmakers should pursue an independent
investigation into state COVID-19 policy as well as the
actions of nursing homes during the pandemic. The attorney
general should continue her investigation and,
where appropriate, seek civil or criminal legal action.
Finally, Albany lawmakers must pass in this session
comprehensive nursing home reform that sets higher
safety standards and eliminates the ability of unscrupulous
operators to make a quick buck off minimal
standards of care.
The COVID-19 pandemic, horrific as it has been, has
also proved enlightening in exposing long-ignored societal
problems. It’s launched movements to finally end
societal inequality that has been allowed to fester and
strengthen for generations. If we’re honest with ourselves,
we would realize that New York has been failing
the most vulnerable New Yorkers for years.
We must now confront that inconvenient truth, and
take the needed measures to prevent future tragedies.
HOW TO REACH US
TIMESLEDGER | QNS.12 COM | FEB. 5-FEB. 11, 2021
UFT STANDS FOR ‘UNION FAILS TEACHERS’
The failure of NYC’s Department
of Education to reopen
all public schools for in-person
learning shows who really
runs our school system: United
Federation of Teachers (UFT)
leader Michael Mulgrew.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and
Chancellor Richard Carranza
bow to a petty tyrant with political
Mulgrew blocked the return
of on-site learning last fall, then
imposed an arbitrary 3 percent
COVID infection rate threshold
to reopen schools from pre-K to
Now, he wants all 75,000
teachers vaccinated before middle
and high schools can resume
in-person learning even though
vaccine supply is limited.
He needs a dose of hard reality.
Online instruction is called
remote learning because students
have only a remote chance
of learning anything. It impairs
their academic progress, social
skills and mental health. That’s
why many parents have pulled
their kids out of public schools
and enrolled them in Catholic
schools and other private
institutions offering in-person
instruction to all students five
days a week. NYC’s Department
of Education disclosed that public
school enrollment dropped
by 43,000 students since September
Mulgrew’s obstinate attitude
hurts students, parents and
teachers who are denied the opportunity
to do their job. Thanks
to him, UFT really stands for
Union Fails Teachers.
Kew Gardens Hills
PROUD MEMBER OF NEW YORK PRESS ASSOCIATION
V.P. OF ADVERTISING
Reporters: Bill Parry, Angelica
Acevedo, Carlotta Mohamed,
Jenna Bagcal, Jacob Kaye
Copy Editor: Katrina Medoff
ART & PRODUCTION
Art Director: Nirmal Singh
Layout: Zach Gewelb
Senior Account Executive:
MAIL: 38-15 Bell Boulevard, Bayside, NY 11361
PHONE: Display Advertising: (718) 260-4537
Editorial: (718) 260-4549
WEBSITE: Visit www.qns.com
E-MAIL: Editorial: email@example.com
Display Advertising: firstname.lastname@example.org
TO SUBSCRIBE: Call (718) 260-2515
Copyright©2019 Queens CNG LLC.
A report released by Attorney General Letitia James’ office found that the state’s own guidance for admitting
COVID-19 positive patients into nursing homes may have contributed to the spread of the disease.
Photo by Todd Maisel