Cuomo squares up to ‘Grim Reaper’ Mitch McConnell for reluctance to fund blue states

Governor Andrew Cuomo (Photo by Mark Hallum)

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced phase one of a testing program that survey 5,000 New Yorkers to establish a credible infection rate as the previous decline in hospitalizations has flattened out over the past week.

The governor, in his Thursday briefing on COVID-19, said 1,359 people have been hospitalized in the last 24 hours while 438 have died in the same period of time. Nonetheless, Cuomo leaped at the jugular of  Republican Senator Mitch McConnell for asserting that states with heavy coronavirus numbers should file bankruptcy rather than get funding from federal government.

Cuomo’s argument for not declaring bankruptcy found footing on the basis of New York providing up to 10% of the nation’s GDP as well as contributing $116 billion in annual federal funds as opposed to McConnell’s state, Kentucky.

“You want to see that market fall through the cellar? Let [New York, Michigan, Illinois, California] declare bankruptcy. You will see a collapse of this national economy,” Cuomo said. “Vicious is saying – what Senator McConnel said – that this is a blue state bailout… New York puts in more money to the federal pot than it takes out. His state takes out more than it puts in. Senator McConnell, who’s getting bailed out here? It’s your state that is living on the money that we generate.”

As it stands, the state believes the infection rate to be about 13.9%, or 12% among women and 16% among men. The New York City average comes in at about 21%.

Over 16,500 people have died of confirmed cases, Cuomo said, but this number will grow not only as more people die but also as the cause of death is assessed and confirmed for at-home deaths and other suspected cases. The governor also said the state needs to take stock of deaths and cases going back before the pandemic officially began, indicating the revelations of two COVID-19 fatalities in Santa Clara, Calif. going back to early February.

One point of testing will take place in New York City Housing Authority complexes which he said is an attempt to get better testing the low-income communities of color, underserved demographics for testing at the present.

Cuomo will also be cracking down on nursing homes as criticism for the high death rate has been pinned on his administration in recent days. By law, the state will now be holding nursing facilities accountable for requiring personal protective equipment and temperature checks for staff.

The state will also make nursing homes isolate COVID-19 residents by transferring them within a facility or to another facility and to notify families within 24 hours of a resident testing positive for coronavirus or dying of the illness.

More than residents of New York nursing homes have died from coronavirus.