It’s probably better to say Trump’s indirect attack on Cuomo because most of us have figured out that Trump is not really all that into republicanism, at least as I understand it.

But then again, I suppose the party left old school Reaganism in the dust years ago. Which has been disappointing as it came complete with Newt Gingrich assuming the position of Trump’s water boy on government trade deals, China trade restrictions, even writing books about how all these policies make great economic sense after having spent decades evangelizing economic freedom and states’ rights as the answer to nearly every government-created ill. I just don’t know what happened there.

Gingrich’s latest preoccupation appears to have something to do with New York’s Governor Cuomo and the state’s COVID-19 nursing home policy that allowed hospitals to release patients still testing positive back to nursing homes that generally lack the facilities to care for COVID positive patients.

Gingrich’s claim is that the hospitals lobby asked Cuomo to change the original policy that required a patient to test negative two consecutive times before they could be released back to a nursing home because the hospitals couldn’t make enough money on Medicare patients who stay on the ventilators for up to 30 days. Move granny out to make room for more people with private insurance with the Governor’s complicity.

Cuomo, on the other hand, when he explained the COVID nursing home policy, he never mentioned the original policy or a policy change. And I do not know whether there ever was an original policy of testing negative twice before going back to a nursing home from a hospital, or why the policy was changed if it truly was the policy.

Did the Governor dodge the question about the State’s COVID nursing home policy in his explanation or is Gingrich making things up to suit Trump’s purposes? I honestly cannot tell. It could be either or some subtle spin on both sides of the matter.

For purposes of Occam’s razor, Cuomo could very well have changed what seemed like a reasonable policy of waiting until patients are COVID-free before sending them back to their nursing home at the time it was implemented for any number of rational reasons. One reason could have been that he was concerned about hospital congestion, and most of us, New Yorkers anyway, are acutely aware that Cuomo was concerned about hospital congestion while many COVID infections are manageable at home after a shorter stay in the hospital. When he changed the policy, if he did change the policy, it may have been with the expectation that the nursing homes would adapt to this new policy.

But the nursing homes didn’t. They took the COVID patients back as if they had never left.

Out here in Rochester, one of the first confirmed cases of COVID in the area was a nurse who had been “vacationing” in the then COVID-wracked Italy. This nurse returned to her job at a nursing home the day after returning from there, thus starting the epidemic in the area from that nursing home.

Knowing this, I must take somewhat of a pause when Cuomo talks about the Trump Administration’s focus on the COVID problem in China. He said, “We were told the virus was coming from China. Everyone was focused on the virus coming from China and we didn’t know that the virus had gotten a plane from China to Europe while they were focused on China. Then it went from there and came to New York. Nobody told us that.”

After several days of front page headlines about the overwhelmed hospital situation in Italy in late February and early March, the Italian horror as I call it, I find this claim by Cuomo that he didn’t know the virus was coming into New York from Europe unbelievable, especially because he was trying his hardest to learn from Italian policy mistakes that resulted in that situation. Nearly everything he did after that was to avoid exactly that situation.

In this regard, Cuomo seems to want to have it both ways. He didn’t know COVID was in Europe, or that infected Italians or American vacationing in Italy were coming to New York by plane and he was trying to relieve hospital congestion that happened in Italy and Spain when he made the nursing home policy change. But it isn’t rational that these two things can exist together. He isn’t telling the truth about something.

I’ve been harping on the misguided focus of preparing hospitals for COVID load as priority number one for months. Public policy should have been focused on how the population at large could be supported in staying healthy and not needing to be hospitalized in the first place. By doing this, hospital congestion might have been only a secondary concern, with the economic cost to society lower than what occurred because we were instead left with nothing but a policy of blanket house arrest and a wash basin after going out for necessities as the hospitals sucked up the PPE and disinfectants like a collective black hole.

To me it really does not matter about Cuomo’s policy on nursing homes and whether it caused unnecessary fatalities. Nearly all the COVID fatalities were unnecessary because government, here, there and everywhere, gave the hospitals the attention they wanted while leaving Joe Schmo to fend for himself and nothing to do it with.

Nobody is questioning why the hospitals didn’t have a stockpile of PPE and disinfectants for that pandemic we’ve been warned about for decades. There’s no accountability for telling people to leave the masks for health workers who otherwise wouldn’t have any to treat people who didn’t have masks and ended up infected; or the policy of or taking the sanitizers straight from the manufacturers because the hospitals didn’t have enough and not leaving any for public use.

The point here is that when Trump’s shortsighted minions like Gingrich go out and start attacking others on the basis of policy induced COVID deaths, he is in reality like pissing into the wind because, ignoring the prevention role of the CDC, it was Redman and Fauci who took the gear everyone else needed to stay out of the hospital and gave it to the hospitals – and ultimately Trump is responsible because they used his power to do these things, and we all know how involved in the policy making Trump was. They also did this while saying absolutely nothing about what legal responsibility these health care institutions had to be prepared in advance so that they don’t take all the stuff everyone else needs when a pandemic comes around.

The COVID pandemic did not have to happen this way. Most of the people who died of COVID did not have to die of COVID. But it did happen this way and people did die unnecessarily – which is the same for the rest of the policy effects that came from this lack of publicly available PPE. We shouldn’t have needed lockdown measures everywhere.  But we had no other alternative because the hospitals just couldn’t be bothered to be prepared – and they are somehow more important than everyone else to Trump’s administration. I wonder why.