By Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano
The truth will set you free.
A bombshell recently revealed that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo misled the public about nursing home deaths, triggered by his failed COVID mitigation policies.
The fudgy figures resulted in the Cuomo administration under-reporting the number of COVID-19 related deaths in New York nursing homes by 50 percent!
The exposure makes everyone wonder, especially Pennsylvanians, what else is being cloaked in secrecy?
After all, Governor Cuomo and Governor Tom Wolf have worked in lockstep throughout the pandemic. The pair coordinated policies that have bankrupted small businesses, and run roughshod over the constitutional rights of our citizens.
Thousands of Pennsylvania families have contacted me over the past year, in response to an order by Governor Wolf and former Health Department Secretary Dr. Levine, directing COVID-positive patients to be sent from hospitals to nursing homes.
It was a copy-cat strategy by Wolf, a close ally with Governor Cuomo.
Associated Press records revealed that 9,056 COVID-positive patients were released into nursing homes last spring, at the direction of the Cuomo administration. The figure is more than 40 percent higher than what had previously been reported by that state’s health department.
Here in Pennsylvania, the botched strategy of relocating the sick into the most vulnerable population resulted in a catastrophe. Sadly, in this case, Pennsylvania was ahead of New York.
Governor Wolf’s administration issued guidance on March 18, 2020, directing hospitals to send COVID positive patients back into long term care facilities, which unleashed the plague in our state. Never before in a modern society were the sick deliberately sent into the midst of the most vulnerable. At one point, 2/3rds of all COVID deaths were directly due to the failed policies of the Wolf administration.
Families across our state watched helplessly as this disastrous policy led to the deaths of over 12,000 loved ones. Clearly, the policy has been as deadly in Pennsylvania as it has been in New York.
The mandate separated families from their loved ones for hundreds of days, leading to feelings of anxiety, abandonment and depression.
Worse, the directive deprived Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens of the dignity of spending their final moments surrounded by family.
Meanwhile, the Health Secretary realized the failure of the policy. Instead of having the moral decency to alert Pennsylvania of the danger that resulted, the Secretary’s mother was secretly removed from a care facility to a hotel.
Nursing home deaths in Pennsylvania have soared past the national average.
Democrat leaders in the House and Senate, as well as rank and file members have been surprisingly quiet regarding this tragedy. Meanwhile, they certainly haven’t been shy in voicing their opinion about irrelevant matters and political theater.
Time and time again, the Governor and his administration failed to protect our vulnerable population.
When pressed for answers about this tragedy – or other mistakes made throughout the process – the Governor continues to utilize the outdated Disease Prevention & Control Law of 1955 as a shield to withhold vital information.
It would behoove the Governor to display transparency, but sadly, that has not been the case.
In fact, our neighboring states have been more transparent.
During a Senate hearing in the spring of 2020, when the administration was asked for details regarding the statewide business shutdown, lawmakers were promised that information was forthcoming.
We are still waiting.
Businesses were shutdown unilaterally, without being told why. Winners and losers were chosen, without granular data being shared, or science and data justifying the decision.
The unilateral decision-making has worsened over time.
For example, state coroners – those responsible for reporting and classifying deaths in our state – contested the procedure, mechanism and underlying data associated with how COVID deaths were being reported.
Unfortunately, the Governor brushed aside these experts as if their opinion does not matter.
Statistical reporting has been inconsistent, flawed and haphazard.
If the administration doesn’t like the way numbers are reported, they simply change the formula.
Many of Governor Wolf’s actions have already been deemed unconstitutional, such as his business shutdown order and group gathering limitations.
It is improper for families to gather for Christmas, Easter or summer picnics, but there is nothing wrong with participating in a parade for leftist causes. After all, the Governor participated in this type of activity, in a county that remained in a lockdown phase that Wolf implemented.
Where is the media? Their scrutiny is reserved for Republicans rather than doing their due diligence in seeking truth and justice.
What does our Governor do when asked these questions?
Dodge and deflect.
His recent budget address is an example.
Instead of telling state residents that he is working with lawmakers – who are a co-equal branch of government, despite what Wolf thinks – to address these issues, the Governor instead wants to raise taxes, legalize marijuana and hike the minimum wage.
Out of touch with reality, indeed.
Everyone is tired of the hypocrisy and double standards.
It is far past time for Tom Wolf to step up and do his job. He must be held accountable for his failed policies. I sadly fear that Governor Cuomo’s scandal is a mere shadow of what will be eventually discovered in our state.
Senator Doug Mastriano represents the 33rd Senate District, which includes all of Adams County, and portions of Franklin, Cumberland and York counties.