Queens pol: Albany should maintain hearings on COVID nursing dwelling scandal


A state senator from Queens is demanding the Legislature maintain particular hearings on the coronavirus nursing dwelling scandal that has engulfed Gov. Andrew Cuomo — separate from a federal probe that’s underway.

Other than accusations that the administration coated up the reporting of COVID-19 nursing dwelling deaths, Sen. Leroy Comrie desires solutions about allegations that COVID-19 constructive residents at a veterans dwelling in his southeast Queens district got experimental drug cocktails with out consent.

“We have to get to the reality. Clearly errors have been made. We would like full disclosure on what the hell occurred from A to Z,” Comrie mentioned.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, in Albany, N.Y. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks throughout a information convention Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, in Albany, N.Y. 
(Workplace of the Governor of New York through AP)

“I’m personally pushing for the Legislature to carry hearings on the nursing dwelling mess, It’s a large number. Little question about it. We have to drill down to seek out out what occurred so it doesn’t occur once more.”

Comrie mentioned the COVID-19 nursing dwelling scandal is a full-blown disaster that has shaken public confidence.

He mentioned many constituents in his district inform him they won’t ship their family members to nursing houses amid revelations that the Cuomo administration for months intentionally withheld the complete toll of residents who died from the virus.

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The FBI and the Brooklyn US Lawyer’s Workplace have launched a probe into Cuomo’s COVID-19 job drive — reportedly following the Submit’s revelation of personal remarks  Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa.

Throughout a Feb. 10 digital assembly with Democratic lawmakers, DeRosa mentioned Cuomo’s crew withheld from them and the general public the overall variety of nursing dwelling residents killed COVID-19 because of a pending probe the Justice Division, worrying the information “was going for use towards us” and “we froze.”

The subsequent day she mentioned that the administration was cooperating with offering info to the feds — although to not lawmakers or the general public.

The Cuomo administration solely started releasing a extra detailed and correct depend of COVID-19 deaths tied nursing dwelling resident deaths after a stinging report state Lawyer Basic Letitia James estimated state officers undercounted fatalities  50 %.

Cuomo officers had solely been releasing the variety of nursing dwelling residents who died inside long-term care amenities — however was excluding 1000’s of contaminated residents who died in hospitals.

A choose earlier this month additionally ordered Cuomo and his well being division to launch the complete loss of life depend, ruling that they broke the regulation  denying a authorized request for the information filed the Empire Heart for Public Coverage for the knowledge.

Greater than 13,600 nursing dwelling residents have been killed COVID-19, the information revealed — about 5,000 greater than the Cuomo administration reported just some weeks in the past The loss of life tally tops 15,000 when together with residents who lived in different long-term care and assisted residing amenities, in line with up to date state information.

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Comrie known as nursing dwelling residents “individuals who made our lives on earth” who ought to be handled with dignity and respect.

“We have now to revive the belief and integrity in nursing houses. We have now to revive belief in our well being care system,” Comrie mentioned.

“We have now to ensure residents usually are not exploited or experimented on. We have to put protections in place earlier than the subsequent disaster hits,” he mentioned.

He’s significantly incensed concerning the alleged remedy of residents on the state-run St. Alban’s Veterans’ House. Greater than 60 residents got experimental drug cocktails of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin with out consent from sufferers or households — their family members advised information web site The Metropolis.

“We have to get the reality. The governor ought to be main the cost. I don’t perceive why he’s not doing all the things he can to revive belief within the nursing houses, particularly the veterans houses,” Comrie mentioned.

“The governor ought to be ensuring folks have belief within the security of nursing houses. The governor wants to come back out with a transparent voice.”

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Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens), who accused Cuomo of threatening to destroy his political profession in a heated private cellphone name concerning the scandal — claims the governor has denied — backed Comrie’s name for legislative hearings, significantly concerning medicine at veterans’ houses.

“Good. I agree 100% with him. DOH says they didn’t know however at this level we are able to’t belief them,” Kim mentioned on Sunday.

State Well being Commissioner Howard Zucker is scheduled to testify throughout a legislative finances listening to on Thursday.

In an announcement Sunday, a state well being division spokesman insisted that “Allegations that the Division of Well being participated in Hydroxychloroquine experimentation with residents at New York State Veterans Properties are merely not true.”

“No resident of a veteran’s dwelling was ever part of any state supported examine of this medicine. It was used solely as an remedy and never as a part of an experiment, within the early days of this pandemic when folks have been dying, no different therapies existed, and Hydroxychloroquine appeared like the one hope,” mentioned rep Gary Holmes.

“Affected person privateness precludes us from commenting about particular circumstances, nevertheless it was the observe of the Veterans’ houses to debate use of this remedy with sufferers who have been mentally competent, or for individuals who weren’t, with their designated healthcare proxy or authorized surrogate. New York State Veterans Properties had already discontinued use of this remedy for COVID-19 earlier than the FDA revoked the emergency use authorization in June 2020.”

Hydroxychloroquine, which has been used to deal with malaria, confirmed promise early on in serving to sufferers sick from the coronavirus. However the Meals and Drug Administration subsequently warned towards prescribing the drug for COVID-19 outdoors of hospitals or scientific trials due to the chance of great unwanted effects like coronary heart rhythm issues and loss of life.

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A examine revealed final month of 368 male veterans with the coronavirus discovered that 28 % who got hydroxychloroquine and typical well being care died — in comparison with 11 % who simply acquired routine care.

To learn extra from The New York Submit, click on right here.



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