ALBANY, N.Y. — Hearings will begin this week to delve into the state’s COVID-19 response. The state senate majority and the speaker of the state assembly said that both houses of the New York legislature would conduct hearings jointly to pinpoint what went wrong, and perhaps what went right, with the state’s COVID-19 response in nursing homes, elections, hospitals, veterans’ affairs, higher education, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). Legislators will hear live testimony in the coming weeks. Up to this point, lawmakers have conducted hearings on the economic impact of COVID-19 via teleconference. The state assembly also passed COVID-19 relief bills in May. Now, the state’s governing body wants to understand more about the impact a potential resurgence of COVID-19 might have on the state and what more could be done to protect the people of New York, according to the New York Daily News.
State lawmakers want to understand why New York, especially New York City, became the “epicenter” for the spread of the novel coronavirus in March and April of 2020. During those first few weeks, New York hospitals were overrun with COVID-19 patients, and hundreds of people died every day. Up to this point, 25,000 people approximately have died from COVID-19 in New York. Around 6,000 of the people who died either lived in or worked in nursing homes.
Nursing home illness and deaths from COVID-19 were a lightning rod for controversy. The New York Department of Health said that employees and visitors contributed to the high infection rate in elder care facilities rather than Governor Cuomo’s controversial order to rehabilitate COVID-19 patients in nursing facilities who were recently released from hospitals. Some remain skeptical of that claim and want to explore the conclusion reached by the Department of Health more closely.
Lawmakers said that the hearings would help them understand what the next steps should be to protect New Yorkers and propel the state forward.
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