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#Cuomo: Coronavirus patients put in nursing homes ‘probably not contagious’

#Cuomo: Coronavirus patients put in nursing homes ‘probably not contagious’

June 17, 2020 | 1:45pm

Just who is to blame for the more than 6,000 coronavirus-linked deaths in New York nursing homes remains a touchy subject for Gov. Andrew Cuomo who on Wednesday made a wild claim about how contagious the infected seniors were.

In response to questions from The Post at his daily briefing in Albany, Cuomo denied that his administration’s decision to send hospitalized coronavirus patients to nursing homes as the pandemic raged spread the deadly disease — and he maintained, without presenting any evidence, that an estimated 4,500-plus patients discharged to nursing homes under a state order were “probably not contagious.”

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Cuomo also refused to say who advised him and Health Commissioner Howard Zucker to adopt the controversial March 25 directive, which Cuomo largely rescinded last month under withering criticism as the state reported some 6,200 COVID-19-linked deaths in nursing homes.

And he accused critics who’ve questioned the state order of playing politics.

“I understand the politics of this issue,” Cuomo went on, and took shots at the Republican members of Congress who on Monday demanded documents and a staff-level briefing on what they called his “lethal decision.”

Cuomo also claimed widespread agreement among public health officials “that this was the best possible path” and reiterated his earlier assertion that the since-abandoned policy was based on guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 6,200 nursing home residents are confirmed or suspected to have been killed by COVID-19 since March 1, according to official state figures.

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While still providing little to no facts to back up his defense of the order to place the infected patients in nursing home facilities, Cuomo also singled out The Post and columnists Bob McManus and Michael Goodwin for having criticized the controversial directive in both news coverage and editorials.

Top Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa appeared at one point to throw Zucker under the bus, jumping in to note that the March 25 directive came from the Health Department and was not an executive order signed by the governor.

She then insisted that state data showed no correlation between the admission of coronavirus patients to nursing homes and subsequent deaths there.

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DeRosa also blamed the likely introduction of the disease into nursing homes on “asymptomatic” workers, citing a Harvard study.

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