Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) has surfaced again to harangue Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for not doing due diligence regarding COVID-19 and nursing homes. Would that he had shown the same interest in exposing former President Donald Trump, who instigated an insurrection on the U.S. Capitol. Zeldin has been silent for the past five years in supporting Trump’s most egregious behavior in an apparent effort to normalize it.
Regardless of the investigation into Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for his purported nursing home deaths cover-up, I find it amusing and hypocritical that Rep. Lee Zeldin insinuates his criminality. How did Zeldin vote in the House impeachment of former President Donald Trump?
No point in arguing over facility deaths
A narrative is out suggesting that actions of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo led to an excessive number of deaths of nursing home patients from COVID-19. Turn to the science — in this case statistical probability. I believe there is not enough state funding to pay for the hundreds of people needed to review an adequate number of nursing home records, and, in the final analysis, how could a reviewer determine with certainty who exposed any specific resident to COVID-19 — family, staff or another patient? Backtracking to the executive directive to compel that residents be accepted back after COVID-19 hospitalizations (if approved by hospital physicians), many say that led to many more nursing home deaths. That directive was made for the whole society as the best decision for the circumstances at hand. The truth is that COVID-19 caused the deaths. To me, arguing over how human decisions and policies affected the mortality numbers is moot and nonproductive. What’s more productive is to decide how much funding we want to give our government to meet the next existential health crisis. Stop bellyaching about taxes and join in the effort to protect and save our vulnerable, our children and our adult selves.
With 20/20 hindsight, legislators are second-guessing some of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s decisions. I have not heard what our dysfunctional legislators would have done differently, given the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation to return nursing residents to their facilities (to avoid hospitals becoming overwhelmed). It is the nursing homes’ failure to fulfill their responsibility to provide proper care that the State Legislature should focus on.
Report bad behavior — don’t just complain
As long as I can remember, problems with people not obeying rules or doing the proper job has been a society norm ["LIRR employees — unmasking bad scene," Letters, Feb. 19]. The real problem is that, in many instances, people complain about it to other people rather than to the proper authorities. I suggest that passengers would be better served if besides writing to Newsday, the offended person contacted the Long Island Rail Road and reported the two conductors. Almost everyone has a cellphone, so take their picture. In many instances, they display IDs. We hear complaints almost daily — missed garbage pickup, store clerks not doing their job, wait staff giving poor service. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to the offending party, think how much better we all would be if people took the time to complain to the supervisor.
TV drug ads costly in different ways
I am glad to know someone has benefited from prescription drug advertising [" ‘Annoying’ drug ads can be helpful," Letters, Feb. 16]. I am a retired pharmacist opposed to this advertising since its inception. It has greatly increased healthcare costs by creating a demand for expensive medicines for patients who often cannot make educated determinations about their value. One needs to cut through all the happy people on TV in idyllic settings and read the small print briefly flashed on the bottom of the screen, where you may get a clue about the real story, which may not be so ideal. Few patients have the education needed to critically evaluate clinical data, and one would need a lot more than presented in the ad. Take Type 2 diabetes for example. In one day, I saw TV ads for Rybelsus, Jardiance, Trulicity and Ozempic. Which one should I "ask my doctor about"? Even as a retired pharmacist, I can’t tell from the ads. I personally use two carefully titrated generic medications costing far less. The government opened this Pandora’s box but, with $30 billion in advertising revenue involved, it isn’t likely to close it again. And that’s sad.
Editor’s note: The writer, who began as a pharmacist in 1968, retired after 18 years as director of pharmacy at Stony Brook University Hospital.