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Andrew Cuomo on coronavirus response: ‘I put my head on the pillow at night saying I saved lives’

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday appeared to boast of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, declaring during a conference call: “I put my head on the pillow at night saying I saved lives, that’s how I sleep at night.”

The Democratic received some pushback online, with many pointing to his March 25th mandate to send coronavirus patients to nursing homes from hospitals – a decision some say factored in to nearly 6,000 deaths.

In this Sept. 29, 2020 photo provided by the Office of New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Gov. Cuomo delivers a COVID-19 update during a briefing in New York City. 

In this Sept. 29, 2020 photo provided by the Office of New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Gov. Cuomo delivers a COVID-19 update during a briefing in New York City. 
(Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo via AP)

The mandate required nursing homes to take in patients so long as they were medically stable. The nursing homes were further prohibited from testing incoming residents for the virus before they arrived.

More than 6,300 COVID-positive patients were admitted to nursing homes between March 25 and May, according to a report from the New York state health department. The high number of admitted patients has been widely blamed for the state’s official care home death toll of more than 6,600.

An analysis from the state health department determined that there was no causal link because “the timing of admissions versus fatalities shows that it could not be the driver of nursing home infections of fatalities.”

Still, Cuomo’s mandate stoked the ire of a lot of nursing homes. Rob Astorino, a Republican candidate in the 40th district State Senate race told 77WABC’s Lidia Curanaj that the nursing home owners he spoke to “were upset by Cuomo’s directive.”

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“They were overwhelmed with sick patients, understaffed, and lacking in the proper PPE as well as equipment to treat and protect others from catching the virus.”

Pressed on the matter Wednesday during the conference call, Cuomo rejected the premise that the number of nursing home fatalities was linked to his March 25th mandate.

“The premise of your question is just factually wrong, the virus preys on senior citizens,” Cuomo said.

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As of Thursday, the virus has claimed some 33,159 deaths out of 76,754 cases recorded in New York since the pandemic began, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

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