Left-leaning PolitiFact defended a fact-check that deflected blame on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D., for his role in an alleged cover-up of thousands of nursing home deaths in the state.
In August, PolitiFact assigned a fact-check rating of ‘Mostly False’ to claims from former Trump official Michael Caputo stating that the governor “planted the seeds of infection that killed thousands of grandmothers and grandfathers.”
Despite an admission that Cuomo “faced increasing scrutiny regarding his handling of information related to covid-related deaths among nursing home residents,” in the form of a bombshell admission from one of Cuomo’s top aides that he tried to cover up underreported deaths from the policy, the original fact-check ruling remains with a new comment.
According to The Federalist, PolitiFact attached an editor’s note Tuesday to the original article, clarifying a fact-check that received criticism on social media.
“The [old] fact check itself focused on a policy issued by Cuomo in March directing nursing homes in the state to accept patients who had or were suspected of having covid-19. As long as they were medically stable, the notice said, it was appropriate to move patients in,” the editor’s note stated.
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“Our ruling of ‘mostly false’ is unchanged by this new information. That rating was based on evidence that while the introduction of covid-19 positive patients into nursing homes no doubt had an effect on the spread of the coronavirus, Caputo’s statement suggested it was solely responsible. That’s not what the evidence showed, then or now.”
Last year, PolitiFact focused narrowly on the notion that Cuomo was being held “solely responsible” for the deaths. However, the Cuomo administration’s March 25 policy directive expressly barred nursing homes from turning down patients because they had COVID-19.
“Infection control is a longstanding problem in nursing homes that predates the pandemic and a report showed peak numbers of nursing home deaths came prior to the peak influx of patients as a result of Cuomo’s advisory. While the introduction of COVID-19 positive patients into nursing homes no doubt had an effect on infection spread, Caputo’s statement suggests it was solely responsible. That’s not what the evidence shows,” it wrote.
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Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have criticized Cuomo’s handling of the nursing home situation. Criticism intensified after New York Attorney General Letitia James, D., significantly underreported the number of COVID-19 deaths at the facilities.
State Democrats have called for Cuomo to be stripped of his emergency powers following the nursing home scandal. On Capitol Hill, Sen. Ted Cruz and other GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have called for a congressional probe.
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Meanwhile, the FBI and US attorney’s office in Brooklyn have begun an investigation into how Cuomo’s administration handled the state’s nursing home crisis during the coronavirus pandemic.
Fox News’ Thomas Barrabi contributed to this report.