Long-applauded by establishment democrats and liberals, Andrew Cuomo’s actions were consistently protested by local organizers.
As Andrew Cuomo exits his post as New York governor in shame due to multiple sexual harassment allegations, I can’t think of a more perfect time to reflect on some of the horrible things he did in office. While liberals spent the pandemic lauding his COVID-19 efforts and making merch calling themselves “Cuomosexuals,” organizers were busy trying to protect New Yorkers and get vulnerable people the things the state—helmed by Cuomo—were not giving to them.
The truth is that Governor Cuomo’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was abysmal, beginning with his decision to bar nursing homes from not accepting COVID-19 patients. In an attempt to free up hospital space, Cuomo forced nursing homes that were unequipped to handle coronavirus outbreaks to take in sick or recovering patients by the thousands. When releasing nursing home pandemic statistics, the Cuomo administration underreported the number of patients that were released back to homes while infected. An Associated Press investigation reported that there were at least 9,056 COVID patients sent back to nursing homes—40% more than Cuomo’s health department reported. The results were literally deadly, but Cuomo and his team lied about that too. They originally reported 8,500 deaths in longterm care facilities, but the real number is at least 15,000. We still don’t know for sure how many people died because of this negligent and violent decision, but the investigation continues after his resignation and exit from office.
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As if being responsible for thousands of deaths was not enough, Cuomo still had time and energy to continue to be racist. Amidst the global protests against police violence in the aftermath of the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Governor Cuomo was more concerned about reopening New York City’s bars than racist policing. He called the protests “counterproductive,” lamenting that the protests over state-sanctioned murder were going to put a damper on his plans to open the city one week later. It doesn’t end there. He went so far as to say that the protests were actually harming Black people, since Black folks have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Now, Andrew could have spent the entire pandemic providing relief to marginalized folks–particularly Black New Yorkers–but instead of doing that, he scolded them and their accomplices for protesting. During this entire rant, Cuomo failed to mention the COVID risk caused by the cops during these protests. They were regularly seen without masks and their violence and indiscretion against protestors sent people to already overcrowded hospitals and jails. Were the police officers’ actions not “counterproductive” to your reopening plans, Governor Cuomo?
The issue of clemency got a lot of press on 24 Aug., as Cuomo used his last day in office to grant clemency to just six people, in addition to the 10 people he granted clemency for last week. Sixteen people? Seriously? Organizers have been pushing for the release of people en masse (#FreeThemAllForPublicHealth) since the beginning of the pandemic. There were more than 50,000 people living in New York State prisons, which were epicenters of COVID-19 infections during the height of the pandemic. Many in prison are elderly or have underlying health conditions that make them more susceptible to the virus. In prison, social distancing is impossible, hand sanitizer was banned, and soap wasn’t free. It should come as no surprise, then, that New York State prisons were reporting twice the number of COVID positives than the state at large. The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) has refused to release data, suggesting the actual toll was even worse than reported. Seems like the Cuomo special: kill a bunch of people and then pretend you didn’t. Now, as COs refuse to get vaccinated and incarcerated people continue to live with subpar sanitary conditions, Cuomo’s decision not to free people could get even worse.
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Though not quite as egregious as the deaths he caused and lives he refused to save, I would be remiss not to mention that Cuomo has already come out with a book discussing his successes in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. A whole book of lies that sold around 50,000 copies, for which Cuomo will earn a whopping $5.1 million. I can’t totally wrap my head around overseeing the deaths of thousands of people and then congratulating myself in a book for which I made millions while New Yorkers suffered financially, but hey, that’s why I’m not a politician. All I can say is I’m glad to see ex-Governor Cuomo leave and I can’t wait to shift pressure to the incoming Governor Kathy Hochul to #FreeThemAll.
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