DOJ To Investigate Democratic Governors Whose Decisions May Have Killed Thousands At Nursing Homes

( Some Democratic governors may soon face the wrath of the Department of Justice over the numerous COVID-19 deaths of residents at elderly nursing homes in their states.

The DOJ has requested data from Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey and New York regarding orders the Democratic governors gave that could have resulted in many of these deaths. The data is due to the DOJ by September 9, and the department will use that to determine whether to open an investigation.

If they determined that’s the route they want to take, they would do so under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, which is designed to protect civil rights of people who live in nursing homes that are run by the state.

According to a DOJ statement, the department wants to know more about governors’ orders that “required nursing homes to admit COVID-19 patients to their vulnerable populations, often without adequate testing.”

Eric Dreiband, the assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, further explained:

“Protecting the rights of some of society’s most vulnerable members, including elderly nursing home residents, is one of our country’s most important obligations. We must ensure they are adequately cared for with dignity and respect and not unnecessarily put at risk.”

The DOJ seems especially concerned with the March 25 executive order given by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. That order prohibited nursing homes from turning away patients who tested positive for coronavirus. That order from Cuomo read:

“No resident shall be denied re-admission of admission to [a nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. [Nursing homes] are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or re-admission.”

New York has reported 32,500 coronavirus-related deaths to date, which is the highest total in the country. New Jersey has reported almost 16,000. In New York, roughly 6,600 of those deaths have been reported at nursing homes.

A recent Associated Press report, though, says that number could be significantly higher. As the report says:

“Unlike every other state with major outbreaks, New York only counts residents who died on nursing home property and not those who were transported to hospitals and died there.”

Cuomo has also reportedly refused to reveal the actual number of nursing home deaths related to COVID-19. Marina Villeneuve and Jim Mustian of the AP wrote:

“Nearly every time Cuomo is questioned about New York’s nursing home death toll, he brushes off criticism as politically motivated and notes that his state’s percentage of nursing home deaths out of its overall COVID-19 death toll is around 20%, far less than Pennsylvania’s 68%, Massachusetts’ 64% and New Jersey’s 44%.”

Even Michael Caputo, the assistant secretary for public affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has questioned Cuomo’s decisions. He told the New York Post:

“For months, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been ducking his personal responsibility for ordering the seeding of New York nursing homes with the coronavirus, a tragic mistake which killed thousands of grandmothers and grandfathers.”