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Calls for transparency in NY’s COVID-19 response echo on anniversary of controversial directive

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

As New York marked the fourth anniversary of the contentious executive order by former Governor Andrew Cuomo, which mandated nursing homes to readmit COVID-positive patients, critics and advocates gathered to demand a clearer examination of the state’s pandemic response. The directive, believed to have exacerbated the death toll in long-term care facilities, remains a sore point. With Governor Kathy Hochul at the helm, the state’s leadership has been accused of sidestepping a thorough, independent review of the actions taken during the crisis, including those that succeeded and, crucially, those that did not.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

The situation has only been compounded by Governor Hochul’s handling of a review into the state’s pandemic policies, which has been criticized for lacking independence. Despite a $4.3 billion investment in a Virginia-based firm to investigate the state’s COVID response, the findings have yet to be released, and concerns mount over the review’s direct reporting to the governor’s office. Critics argue this approach mirrors Cuomo’s, undermining the potential for genuine accountability and transparency. The state’s reluctance to initiate an independent inquiry has fueled frustration among those seeking justice for lost loved ones and answers about the decision-making processes that led to tragedy.

Amidst this backdrop, Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt and Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay have voiced the need for an open assessment of past mistakes to better prepare for future challenges. Their calls for legislative hearings with subpoena power aim to uncover the truth behind the state’s handling of the pandemic, especially regarding nursing home policies. However, the absence of such scrutiny, attributed to one-party control in Albany, has led to a perceived lack of checks and balances, casting a shadow over the state’s commitment to learning from its past and safeguarding against future crises.