Cuomo criticized for calling coronavirus 'the Grinch' after profiting from response

'The COVID Grinch is an opportunist and sees this as the season of viral transmission,' the Democrat said

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was criticized Monday for calling the coronavirus “the Grinch” amid spiking hospitalizations across the state after allegedly profiting from the response to the pandemic.

In his press conference Monday, the Democratic governor said that “COVID is the Grinch” this time of year, and “the COVID Grinch is an opportunist and sees this as the season of viral transmission.” He warned people to be on alert as traditional celebrations including gift buying, meals together, religious gatherings, families reuniting and students coming home all increase social activity and mobility.

Cuomo also said hospital capacity was the top concern statewide and he could impose a second “New York Pause” or lockdown depending on a possible post-Thanksgiving effect. He explained that there could be a week to 10-day lag before data becomes available about those infected during travel over the holiday weekend.

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Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean, an outspoken critic of Cuomo’s since-reversed nursing home mandate earlier this year, retweeted a video of Cuomo’s press conference, writing: “Cuomo is the Grinch. The Grinch that helped spread Covid into nursing homes and profited off their deaths by writing a book about leadership in the middle of a pandemic.”

During his news conference, Cuomo shared a quote that said: “Tough times don’t last because tough people outlast them.” To that sentiment, Dean added: “Tough times don’t last because tough people outlast them.” ...Unless you shove Covid patients into nursing homes for 46 days.”

In March, Cuomo issued an executive order preventing nursing homes from denying patients who tested positive for COVID-19. He didn’t reverse the order until May when hospital patients were then required to test negative for the virus before returning to assisted living facilities. In the interim, thousands of elderly nursing home residents, including both of Dean’s in-laws, died from the virus.

“I don’t wish this virus on anyone,” Dean said in another tweet Thursday. “I just would like to point out @NYGovCuomo made money off those who got it and died from it by pretending he helped stop it. And instead of governing during a pandemic he promoted himself and accepted awards from Hollywood.”

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Earlier this month, the governor received the Founders Award at the Emmy’s International Emmy Awards ceremony for his leadership during the pandemic, which included daily press conferences to inform the public. He also recently published a book detailing the leadership lessons he learned in dealing with the public health crisis. 

Retweeting a story by Politico about Cuomo’s new five-pronged winter plan to combat COVID-19, Dean said that the governor announced the new initiative “...After he went on a congratulatory book tour for conquering Covid in New York with the highest death toll of any state and getting away with helping spread the virus into nursing homes for months in the spring.”

Dean said Cuomo and the state health department do not count the number of seniors that died in hospitals but contracted the virus in their nursing homes. She alleged that Cuomo will not give us those numbers because estimates are at least double what he’s reporting.

Cuomo's strategy unveiled Thursday involves managing hospital capacity, increasing and balancing testing, keeping schools open when safe, stopping the spread from small gatherings, and operationalizing an equitable and safe vaccination program.

Cuomo said Thursday that there are about 54,000 hospital beds currently available in New York State, despite projecting a need for 120,000. He said the New York State Department of Health would also initiate emergency hospital measures by requiring every hospital to identify staff shortages and reach out to retired doctors to come back in if needed. 

 “We lived this nightmare, we learned from this nightmare, we are going to correct for the lessons we learned during this nightmare," Cuomo said, explaining that when the pandemic began it was the first time ever that the state’s mostly private hospital system needed to be managed governmentally.  

The state health department will now move to have individual hospital network load balancing mandated for Northwell, H+H, and Montefiore, prepare an emergency field hospitals plan, have hospitals plan to add 50% bed capacity, prepare to implement statewide "surge and flex,” prepare to staff emergency field hospitals, and activate the emergency PPE stockpile.

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Cuomo also urged New Yorkers to cut out small gatherings as hospitalizations climb statewide. He tweeted that 65% of all coronavirus cases are traced to small gatherings, and the government “can’t enforce who’s in your living room. But you can.”

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New metrics will be added to yellow, orange and red zones across the state to include hospitalization rate, death rate, case rate, available hospital, ICU beds, available staff, effective patients load management, PPE and equipment availability.

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