Just as happened with the nursing homes, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is allegedly hiding the actual numbers of infections and deaths of New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
A report reveals that nursing homes were not the only places forced to accept Covid-positive patients, as so were group homes for people with IDD.
The Cuomo Administration issued a memorandum nearly identical to the March 25, 2020 memo that would have caused “several hundred and possibly more than 1,000” deaths according to investigations. A memorandum issued April 10th by the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) to operators of certified residential facilities has identical language to the nursing home memo:
“No person shall be denied readmission or admission to a certified residential facility based solely on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of Covid-19 (…) In addition, providers of certified residential facilities are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized individual, who is determined to be medically stable, to be tested for Covid-19 prior to admission or readmission,” it states.
The advocacy group, Disability Rights New York, filed suit to obtain long-delayed information from the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities on how many residents and staff at the group’s residences have been infected or died from the virus, a delay that the group says hampers the ability to minimize the risk of infection in a vulnerable population and to assess the state’s efforts to protect them.
According to Maria McFadden Maffucci of National Review last year, a Disability and Health Journal study titled “COVID-19 Outcomes Among People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Living in Residential Homes in New York State” reported that “people with IDD who lived in residential group homes were at increased risk for severe consequences of COVID-19.”
The study authors write that “circumstances and decisions made early in the pandemic may have contributed to the higher case rate of persons living with IDD in residential group homes.”
“It will not be possible to fully understand the severity of this risk until U.S. states begin to publicly share all relevant data they have on COVID-19 outcomes among this population,” the report concludes.
The Journal of Disability and Health also tracked the development of COVID-19 in people with disabilities. In its estimates, by the end of May of last year, of 20,431 group home residents statewide, 1,602 had tested positive and 240 had died.
According to the Albany Times Union and according to the State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, as of November 2020, 484 people with IDD died from COVID-19; however, if the situation in these homes was repeated as in nursing homes, then the number could be much higher, just as it was with the numbers of deceased elders.
These deaths have been underreported and the actual number of deceased is also unknown. If the Cuomo Administration ever allows a full accounting, perhaps investigators could estimate the precise impact of the April 10th memorandum.
“More than 1,000 seniors died because of Cuomo”
Policies taken on by the Andrew Cuomo administration may have caused the COVID-19 deaths of more than 1,000 seniors in the state’s homes.
A study by the nonprofit Empire Center for Public Policy revealed that the governor’s order issued on March 25, 2020 would have caused “several hundred and possibly more than 1,000” deaths.
Last month, Attorney General Letitia James said the March 25th directive “may have put residents at greater risk of harm in some facilities.”
The prosecutor’s report prompted Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, to privately admit that the administration hid the total number of nursing home deaths from local lawmakers amid a Justice Department investigation.
Last Thursday, February 18th, it was learned that the FBI and federal prosecutors in Brooklyn are investigating the New York governor’s staff after it was learned that knowingly lied about the true number of elderly nursing home deaths.
Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have called for an independent investigation into the governor’s handling of nursing homes. Both groups accuse Cuomo of committing an “intentional criminal offense.”
In effect, the lawmakers accuse Cuomo of “obstruction of justice” by withholding information on the number of deceased seniors in nursing homes in an attempt to evade a U.S. Department of Justice investigation.