How Andrew Cuomo Sold out New York's Seniors | Opinion

The epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States is New York state—and particularly the New York City region. As of this writing, New York state has 376,309 confirmed cases and 29,653 deaths—most of which are in New York City.

Why is New York the epicenter of the virus? Did the lack of leadership from Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio contribute to increasing the spread of the virus?

I try to answer these questions on this week's episode of my podcast, "Newt's World." My guest is Dr. Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York from 1995 to 1998 and author of The Next Pandemic, in which she discusses the coronavirus crisis and how to battle the next pandemic without an economic shutdown.

Of course, the news media has been utterly unwilling to tell the truth about New York state. Cuomo has been portrayed as some Churchillian figure, leading his state through this crisis courageously and effectively. Just a few weeks ago, people were even calling for Cuomo to run for president.

Contrast that with the coverage of red state governors from Georgia, Florida and other places who have been portrayed as heartless and incompetent.

In reality, New York has far more infections and deaths than any other state, and it's because of bad decisions from Cuomo and others—not bad luck.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Most egregiously, Cuomo's statewide health department actually mandated that nursing homes accept patients from hospitals who had coronavirus. As the pandemic worsened and hospitals in New York filled up with people infected by the virus, hospitals said they needed to move elderly patients into nursing homes with empty beds in order to make room for others. The state government wouldn't even let nursing homes require coronavirus testing for admission.

This process led to an astonishing number of deaths in nursing homes. And Dr. McCaughey, who has intimate knowledge of Albany's inner workings, explains in detail how it all happened because Cuomo sold out New York's senior citizens to the hospital industry. Indeed, the Greater New York Hospital Association is a massive donor to Cuomo. With so much money at stake, Dr. McCaughey argues, Cuomo and his health department kowtowed to the hospital industry and chose money over lives.

We also go beyond New York and look toward the next pandemic by discussing Dr. McCaughey's book. She details how we don't need to put the country on lockdown to fight a pandemic and can use a number of new technologies that, inexplicably, we don't seem to be prioritizing right now.

I hope you will listen to this week's episode to hear the truth about what is happening in New York and help me think through how we can prepare for the next pandemic. I also hope you will listen to my next episode, set to air Wednesday. We'll be discussing the future of space exploration and space as an infrastructure investment—topics near and dear to my heart.

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The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.