A Reminder that Gov. Newsom Had His Own Massive Nursing Home Scandal

Although Governor Andrew Cuomo—who’s now been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women—has received a lot of flack for his “nursing home” scandal, California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, has yet to get his 15 minutes of shame. Indeed, Newsom’s decision-makers, like Cuomo’s, interpreted the CDC’s COVID-19 guidelines in such a way that also resulted in a horrific COVID nursing home policy: One that can only be described as negligent.

In an April 2020 op-ed in The Mercury News, the outlet noted that “[California] still lacks the most-basic tool for fighting any outbreak: Accurate information. Without it, families have no idea whether their loved ones in care homes are in danger.” The op-ed went on to say that “those looking to place people don’t know which [care homes] are safe. There’s also no accurate real-time data with which to track the location and trend of the outbreaks.”

The Mercury News then lambasted Governor Newsom for providing “woefully inadequate” data, and highlighted the fact that the state’s reports of COVID deaths in nursing homes were “almost surely gross underestimates because of the paucity of information.”

The op-ed went on to add that there was a “stonewalling from health officials who refuse to provide the most basic information.” It also said that Newsom’s administration hid behind HIPAA law to avoid dishing out the real numbers of nursing home deaths.

The op-ed continued on, noting that the state’s elderly care facilities also asked Newsom for immunity for legal liability, but the paper itself balks at the idea. (A cursory search does not reveal whether or not Newsom gave the facilities immunity.)

“[Legal Immunity] should not be extended to the facilities,” the op-ed noted. Adding that “Taking away any legal recourse for families would leave profiteers free of accountability for their actions. They would have no incentive for ensuring quality care and basic safety protections during the pandemic.”

According to a Sacramento Bee article published on April 24, more than 40% of California’s COVID-19 deaths were in nursing care homes. As of this writing, at least one county in California was reporting more than 51% of its COVID deaths in people over the age of 80.

Feature image: Thomas Hawk

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