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NY AG releases report showing COVID-19 nursing home deaths ‘may have been undercounted by as much as 50%’

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Letitia James NY Attorney General

New York Attorney General Letitia James released a report Thursday showing the state’s Health Department “undercounted” by what could be as much as 50% of the number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.

The New York Health Department currently says COVID-19 is responsible for 8,500 nursing home deaths in the state.

“As the pandemic and our investigations continue, it is imperative that we understand why the residents of nursing homes in New York unnecessarily suffered at such an alarming rate,” said Attorney General James in a statement.

She added, “While we cannot bring back the individuals we lost to this crisis, this report seeks to offer transparency that the public deserves and to spur increased action to protect our most vulnerable residents. Nursing homes residents and workers deserve to live and work in safe environments, and I will continue to work hard to safeguard this basic right during this precarious time.”

The report also found a number of ways the state put nursing home residents at greater risk of exposure to COVID-19, including Governor Andrew Cuomo’s March mandate, which forced nursing homes to accept recovering COVID-19 patients.

“Government guidance requiring the admission of COVID-19 patients into nursing homes may have put residents at increased risk of harm in some facilities and may have obscured the data available to assess that risk,” the report states.

At the time of Gov. Cuomo’s order, it was well-known and documented that the elderly were among the most susceptible to the virus. The order was later deleted from the New York State Department of Health’s website in May, The Daily Caller’s Peter Hasson first reported.

Since then, Gov. Cuomo has denied any responsibility.

Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean, who lost her in-laws because of Gov. Cuomo’s order, has been fighting for the governor to be held accountable for his actions.

Following the release of James’s report, Dean wrote on Twitter Thursday, “Can’t wait to see @NYGovCuomo answer questions on @TishJames’s report about nursing homes.”

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Pope Francis calls for universal ban on ‘so-called surrogate motherhood’

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Pope Francis called for a universal ban on surrogacy, likening the practice as an unborn child “turned into an object of trafficking.”

“I consider despicable the practice of so-called surrogate motherhood, which represents a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child, based on the exploitation of situations of the mother’s material needs,” Francis said in a speech to the Holy See on Monday.

The “uterus for rent” process, as Francis has called it, was estimated to bring in $14 billion in the U.S. in 2022, and is projected to grow to a $129 billion market by 2032. National Review reports Individual surrogacies can cost anywhere from $60,000 to $200,000 plus in the U.S. Rising infertility rates, an increase in the number of fertility clinics, and “sedentary lifestyles” contribute to surrogacy’s recent popularity, according to Global Market Insights.

“A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract,” Francis continued. “Consequently, I express my hope for an effort by the international community to prohibit this practice universally.”

Surrogacy is already banned in many European countries. In the United States, commercial surrogacy, or for-profit surrogacy, is legal in some states, and the practice has been used by celebrities who are very public with their decision to use surrogacy.

Altruistic surrogacy, the method by which a woman carries another person’s child for no official compensation, is legal in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, South Africa, Greece, and Iceland, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The speech was about threats to peace and human dignity. “A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract,” Francis continued. “Consequently, I express my hope for an effort by the international community to prohibit this practice universally.”

Francis also listed Russia’s war on Ukraine, the Israel-Hamas war, climate change, and increased weapons production as great threats to peace on Monday.

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