MATTHEWS: On his handling of the pandemic, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo finally gets his just desserts

In this April 24, 2020, photo, Gov. Andrew Cuomo addresses the media while holding an n95 mask during his daily press briefing on COVID-19 at the State Capitol in Albany, N.Y. (Darren McGee/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo via AP, File)

After 10 months of conservative media outlets trying to hold New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s feet to the fire on his disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the governor who was dubbed the “Luv Guv” by New York media outlets is finally getting his just desserts.

Cuomo’s comeuppance began with an announcement from a surprising source. New York state Attorney General Letitia James, who like Cuomo is a Democrat, issued a report last Thursday detailing how the number of nursing home deaths may be as much as 50% higher than had been previously reported. Instead of 8,711 deaths, the number could actually be 13,000 or higher. The undercounting, James said, was due in part to the way the state changed the way deaths were calculated.

For the first month and a half of the pandemic in New York, nursing home coronavirus deaths were counted as nursing home deaths even if the patient ended up passing away at the hospital. But sometime around the end of April or early May, the state’s health department changed how they would calculate nursing home deaths. A nursing home patient who died while at the hospital would no longer be counted as a nursing home death.

By changing the way these deaths were counted, New York could obscure the actual number of nursing home residents who died, making numbers appear lower than they actually were.

Some have suggested that it was no coincidence that the state made this change roughly a month after Gov. Cuomo signed a deadly order mandating that these facilities accept COVID-positive patients, which raised serious concerns at the time that it would lead to coronavirus outbreaks among the state’s most vulnerable (it did).

Most national mainstream media outlets either ignored the story, sugarcoated it or “reported” it from the perspective that it was a partisan hit job from the right designed to discredit the media’s favorite pandemic governor. These news networks were effectively spokespeople for Cuomo from start to finish, with CNN, in particular, leading the way in painting a false image of Cuomo as Andrew the Great while using President Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) as whipping boys to blame for all of Cuomo’s disastrous mistakes.

Cuomo’s little brother, Chris Cuomo, is a longtime nightly “Prime Time” anchor at CNN. He conducted “interviews” with the governor early on during the crisis that resembled something you’d see published on the pages of Teen Beat magazine.

The number of nursing home deaths may be as much as 50% higher than had been previously reported. Instead of 8,711 deaths, the number could actually be 13,000 or higher.

The day after Attorney General James released her report, Gov. Cuomo was asked about it during a press conference. “Who cares [if they] died in the hospital, died in a nursing home? They died!” he flippantly answered.

If New Yorkers are not supposed to care where people died of COVID, then why did New York state change the way the numbers were determined so as to make it appear that not as many died in nursing homes as actually did? I think the answer to that is pretty obvious.

By making the numbers appear to be lower, it made it appear that critics of his deadly order mandating that nursing homes accept COVID-positive patients were overreacting, that the state had things under control.

But as it turns out, Cuomo’s critics were right about his policy on nursing homes and the way deaths were counted.

If only his adoring apologists in the press and in the entertainment industry would have listened — instead of propping him up as a potential contestant on a dating show or a future presidential contender — perhaps Cuomo would have been exposed and called to account in the court of public opinion much sooner and have self-destructed way before now.

Oh well. Better late than never.

Media analyst Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.