‘She has to come clean’: Journalist sues Gov. Whitmer, who has a ‘Cuomo’ problem with nursing home deaths

More and more, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer looks to have a “Cuomo” problem — that being growing concerns about what took place in nursing homes and assisted living facilities in her state.

Investigative journalist Charlie LeDuff filed a lawsuit against Whitmer for refusing to provide relevant data on coronavirus-related nursing home deaths.

Appearing on Fox News’ “The Story,” LeDuff told host Martha MacCallum that while New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo eventually stopped requiring facilities to take COVID-19 positive patients, Michigan is “still doing it.”

The Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and host of the “No BS News Hour with Charlie LeDuff” responded to the governor claiming that she has handled the pandemic better than most states by pointing out that on a national average, one third of COVID deaths are in long-term care facilities, but the figure is “38 to 40 percent” in Michigan.

“She has to come clean,” LeDuff insisted. “She did exactly what Cuomo did except for the fact that we’re still co-mingling.”

(Source: Fox News)

Standing in front of a long-term care facility, he said Michigan did the same thing that New York did in how they accounted for nursing home deaths — New York did not count a nursing home patient who died in the hospital as a nursing home death.

“Back at the height of this thing, ambulances were coming in, they were coming out, they were ping-ponging people, handling them like bags of laundry and we don’t have a true accounting of how many people died because, like Cuomo, we’ve got a hospital count and we have a nursing home count,” LeDuff explained. “We now know — I’m not taking anybody’s word. I’m here for the people.”

Michigan shows the long-term care death count at 5,537, according to WDIV-TV. The NBC affiliate said a freedom of information request it filed was returned with a denial of data, saying, “there are no records of the location of death collected.”

Meanwhile, Gov. Whitmer remains “proud” of her efforts.

“I’m proud of the work that we did. We can parse through different angles of statistics and compare ourselves with other states but … I think that it sometimes can be a fool’s errand because the way that we are congregating data varies from state to state,” she said, according to WDIV. “When there’s never a national strategy, (it’s) hard to really compare apples to apples.”

MacCallum asked the journalist what he hopes to get from suing the state.

“Very specific. Remember, Cuomo stopped doing this in May when the data showed it was a scourge in the nursing homes,” LeDuff said. “[Gov. Whitmer] doubled down in May. We didn’t keep COVID case track in the nursing homes until June and we didn’t keep death records until July when the federal government mandated it.”

“Now in December, all the resident facilities, we started counting them, but a magic number showed up — vital records search. It has an asterisk. That means we’re now counting people that died in the past,” he continued. “I want to know when they died, where they caught COVID and where they died.”

LeDuff stated emphatically that he will go all the way to the Supreme Court, if needed, to get the data.

“Our nursing home numbers keep going down as we keep adding people in,” he said, “but we’re not accounting for where they caught it and they are going to give it to me and I’ll go all the way to the Supreme Court.”

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Tom Tillison

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