EDITORIAL: Covid report unnecessarily delayed, but now let’s make sure it’s done right

Saratoga Hospital has re-introduced protocols regarding visitation amid recent COVID-19 surge. 
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Saratoga Hospital has re-introduced protocols regarding visitation amid recent COVID-19 surge. 

Comprehensive studies take time.

And in New York state politics, they usually take just long enough to ensure they’re not completed in time to influence an important election.

So the cynic would wonder why it took Gov. Kathy Hochul 11 months into her tenure — and around four months prior to her election to a full term as governor — to announce that her administration is prepared to conduct a study of how the state managed the pandemic, including the controversial management of nursing home patients.

This should have been a top priority, not an 11-month afterthought.

About 70,000 New Yorkers have died of covid-related illness since March 2020, including about 17,000 nursing home residents.

Hochul clearly waited so long to announce the start of a comprehensive study to ensure that any conclusions from the study don’t reflect badly on her administration and jeopardize her chances of getting elected governor.

Remember, she was lieutenant governor — second in command — when then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo was managing the pandemic.

And although many reports say she was excluded from the decision-making personally by Cuomo, she still could be tainted by the negative results of the report simply due to the very fact that she wasn’t involved and didn’t speak out or interject herself.

So let’s concede that Hochul deliberately waited to initiate the study until its conclusions couldn’t hurt her politically. That’s terrible. And it should be held against her.

But what’s really important to New Yorkers now is that the investigation be done thoroughly and transparently to ensure state officials can’t use it to cover up their mistakes.

It’s important for the report to identify those responsible for the errors and poor decisions. It’s important for it to identify the procedures that were in place that allowed these errors to happen.

Did the Legislature abdicate its responsibility by ceding too much unilateral power to the governor?

Did the administration rely too heavily on the Health Department and the federal government for policy-making guidance?

All these questions and more need to be answered and then countered with a new policy directive if there’s to be anything gained from the failures of the last crisis.

But more crucially, the investigation must critically evaluate the decisions that were made in order to ensure that people’s lives are not put at risk due to government policies in future public health emergencies.

If this turns out to be nothing more than a political whitewash to absolve public officials, including Hochul, of responsibility, then they shouldn’t even bother.

We might forgive the governor for her political machinations, but only if she doesn’t apply those machinations to the outcome of this report.

Categories: Editorial, Opinion

1 Comments
Ignatious P. Reilly July 29, 2022
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And in New York state politics, they usually take just long enough to ensure they’re not completed in time to influence an important election.
I could not have said this better if I had to. Completely spot on, and it affects ALL government machinations. May I add that if people had ANY brains at all, they would summarily vote against any and all incumbents, every time. Everyone cries and whines about how awful government is (and it is) yet they go out and vote for the incumbent as if the incumbents are not the entire reason this country is in the mess it’s in. It is absolutely amazing. Unfortunately, most people are indeed dumber than the proverbial crate of hammers and therefore we have the awesome government we have! Nice job voters! Happy Taxes! Happy unpunished criminal acts by congresspeople! Happy erosion of your rights! Happy criminals cascading illegally over our borders! Happy drug dealers and gang warfare! Happy criminals being let out of jail with no bail (I’m a poet) to re-commit their crimes, often on the same day! Happy big cities so eroded with crime and poverty one can’t live there. Yay! Go Incumbents!