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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced that hospitals that don’t distribute coronavirus vaccines fast enough will be fined amid growing concern that the state’s strict limits on who may get a vaccine could be slowing down the process.

Cuomo dismissed those concerns, instead ratcheting up pressure on some hospitals he said are not showing enough of a sense of urgency in administering vaccines.

Late last month, Cuomo announced that he would sign an executive order upping fines for health providers that intentionally give vaccines to anyone other than who the state is currently allowing to get them.

He warned specifically that some may try to make money off the highly valuable vaccines.

He said: “Anyone who engages in fraud is going to be held accountable.”

Some critics, however, have said that the state government’s micromanagement of the vaccine process would slow things down. Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin said: “It’s chaos out there. There state has no idea what it’s doing,” according to the New York Post.

The New York approach is consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and what other jurisdictions are doing to get vaccines to health care workers and the elderly first.

But others, including Washington, D.C., have been at least somewhat lenient. NBC Washinton reported Sunday that two friends were given the Moderna vaccine because a Giant Food supermarket in Northeast D.C. had doses that were set to expire. The outlet reported the Washington, D.C., health department says doses on the verge of being wasted should be given to anyone, even outside of priority age groups and occupations.

Cuomo on Monday, meanwhile, blamed individual hospitals for New York’s slow vaccine rollout.

“The hospitals are doing the administration, and that was purposeful,” Cuomo said. “This is a management issue of the hospitals. They have to move the vaccine and they have to move the vaccine faster.”

Cuomo in a slide show showed the faces of the public officials responsible for various hospitals in New York, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, as well as a list of the top-performing hospitals and the lower-performing hospitals in how many vaccines they’ve distributed so far.

“I don’t mean to embarrass any hospital, but I want them to be held accountable,” Cuomo said, before outlining a letter the state government sent to hospitals and his new fine for those who don’t distribute all their current vaccines by the end of the week. The letter, according to the governor, said, “if you don’t use the allocation by the end of this week, the allocation you’ve received by the end of this week, you can be fined and you won’t receive further allocations. We’ll use other hospitals who can administer it better.”

That apparent dual priority of administering vaccines fast and giving them to only priority populations spurred a question by a reporter during the press conference.

“On the one hand, you’re telling hospitals to use their allotment by the end of the week or face a fine. But on the other hand, you’re telling them if they mess up the prioritization they could also face a fine,” John Campbell of Gannett asked the governor. “Are those competing principles there and is that in any way slowing down the vaccination process?”

Cuomo responded by slamming hospitals that have not used their allocation.

“The hospitals have been given the vaccines for expeditious administration,” Cuomo said, noting that some of the state’s hospitals have used almost all of the vaccines they’ve been given. “If you have been given an allocation and you’ve only used a third of the allocation, then you shouldn’t have the allocation. We have options.”

He added: “If you can’t do that within seven days, then just raise your hand and say, ‘I can’t do this.’ Fine, we’ll go to a different hospital. We know what hospitals are better at administering it.”

Cuomo did not directly address the second part of the question on whether or not strict limits on who may get the vaccine could be slowing down its distribution. He instead said his previous order was meant to prevent people from making money by deliberately flouting prioritization requirements rather than if a hospital is tricked into giving an ineligible person a vaccine.

“I want to pass a criminal law to that effect. Criminal law is intent. It’s not a mistake. It’s not that you were defrauded. It’s you engaged knowingly in a criminal act. You sold the vaccines because you could make money,” Cuomo said.

He added: “I’m talking about an affirmative fraud using this vaccine. You will, mark my words, you’re going to see fraud using this vaccine.”

Later asked about whether strict enforcement of prioritization was a contributor to delays, Cuomo did not directly answer and instead defended the state’s decision of who to prioritize.

“There is no one cause,” of delays, the governor said, “but let’s just remember what we’re doing here. The federal government sent guidance on prioritization of who should receive the first vaccines. We agreed with the federal prioritization on the top priority… it’s all health care workers who come in contact with the public… because they’re most likely to be infected.”

He said the only excuses he’s heard from hospitals is “bureaucracy and their own administration.”

Author: Tyler Olson

Source: Fox News: Cuomo blames hospitals for slow vaccine rollout amid concerns state order may slow distribution

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is set to receive a $25,000 pay raise in 2021 per legislation passed in 2019 while other New York officials’ salaries will remain stagnant year-over-year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A report recently released by the New York Commission on Legislative, Judicial and Executive Compensation determined that “it will not recommend any compensation increases for the next four years for New York’s judges, legislators, or executive branch officials.”

The report cited the coronavirus pandemic and its “unprecedented challenges” as a major reason why a pay raise for officials would not be wise.

“The Department of Budget has predicted that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to cause a $60.5 billion loss through FY 2024,” its report said. “And in the short term, the State’s unemployment rate is expected to average 11.4 percent, which is ‘a level higher than any record since the current methodology for calculating the rate was introduced.'”

The report added that the state is in an “extremely precarious fiscal condition.”

Cuomo, who is now the chairman of the National Governors Association (NGA) after Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan stepped down, has been on the forefront of asking the federal government for help with states’ budget shortfalls during the pandemic.

“Due to Congress’ inaction, the ability of state and local governments to deliver critical services to the American people is now in serious jeopardy, along with the jobs of millions who work in schools, libraries, police and fire departments, hospitals, road and transit agencies, and other units of state and local government,” a joint statement by the NGA and several other state and local government associations said in August.

“Only the federal government, with its central bank, the world’s reserve currency, and unlimited borrowing authority, has the power to avoid these devastating consequences. It is unconscionable that our federal leaders have failed to act,” the statement continued.

But amid the struggles of New York and other states, Cuomo’s salary is still set to increase from $225,000 in 2020 to $250,000 in 2021. That is the result of a pre-panedmic resolution passed by the legislature, which noted the New York governor and the lieutenant governor had each made the same salary since 1999.

Fox News reached out to the New York governors’ office for comment and did not immediately receive a response.

The governor’s salary will not be the only income Cuomo is making, of course. Cuomo released a book this year on his handling of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, for which, according to the New York Post, he said some of the proceeds will be donated to a charity that helps fight the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Author: Tyler Olson

Source: Fox News: Cuomo to receive pay raise at start of 2021 as lower officials’ salaries remain stagnant due to pandemic

The Joe Biden campaign is pushing ahead with a major swing-state ad blitz addressing the rioting that’s gripped many U.S. cities head-on and blaming President Trump for the violence, casting the Democratic nominee as a calming force who will “lower the temperature” of the national discourse.

The ad is titled “Be Not Afraid,” a quote from Pope John Paul II, and is adapted from a speech Biden gave Monday in Pittsburgh. It will air on major cable news networks as well as stations in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

“Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. It’s lawlessness, plain and simple. And those who do it should be prosecuted,” Biden says as stark images of burnt-out cars and buildings flash on the screen. “Fires are burning and we have a president who fans the flames. He can’t stop the violence because for years he’s fomented it.”

The Biden campaign said the ad is part of a $45 million broadcast and digital ad buy just this week — a staggering sum of money for even a presidential campaign to drop. It comes as the Biden campaign has begun to emphasize its condemnations of rioting and violence in recent days after Republicans have hammered the message for weeks and harshly criticized the Biden campaign for the lack of attention paid to the unrest at the Democratic National Convention (DNC).

Trump allies have challenged the sincerity of the tone change by the Biden campaign. Meanwhile, the Biden campaign has noted that the nominee has condemned the violence on several occasions throughout the summer, even to the point of backlash from some on the left.

Biden has certainly mentioned the rioting — perpetrated almost exclusively by far-left actors — far less on the virtual campaign trail than Trump, who has made it perhaps the top talking point of his campaign. But he has occasionally condemned the violence with statements as early as May 31 in the wake of George Floyd’s death in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department.

“As predicted, Joe Biden today failed to condemn the left-wing mobs burning, looting, and terrorizing American cities,” Trump campaign Communications Director Tim Murtaugh said in a statement Monday after Biden used a speech in Pittsburgh to denounce rioters and looters as well as accuse Trump of fueling the tensions. “He failed to apologize for his campaign staff donating to a fund which bailed violent criminals out of jail in Minneapolis.”

Biden Rapid Response Director Andrew Bates shot back: “How can anyone take Trump seriously when he refuses to condemn someone who shot protestors on tape — killing two — and is currently in custody? There is one candidate for president who unequivocally condemns violence, and that candidate is Joe Biden.”

The individual Bates was referring to is facing homicide charges for a shooting in Kenosha, Wis., though his lawyers maintain his actions were in self-defense.

Murtaugh in a tweet reacting to the ad buy said the tens of millions in spending by the Biden campaign are necessary because voters “have seen the weakness, seen him calling them ‘peaceful protesters’ while blaming police.”

In a departure from many of its other ads, the new Biden spot on the riots does not mention the coronavirus pandemic. It could be a signal of more focus on the unrest from both campaigns down the stretch as many have noted Americans’ revulsion to the looting, arson and other crime that takes place during the riots, which often happen at night stemming from protests against police brutality and racism.

“[Trump’s] failure to call on his own supporters to stop acting as an armed militia in this country shows how weak he is,” Biden says in the ad, a reference to the individual facing homicide charges, whose self-defense claim Trump seemed to back this week, as well as caravans of Trump supporters, which Trump has encouraged, that have entered cities like Portland during riots. An apparent Trump supporter was shot over the weekend in Portland.

“If I were president my language would be less divisive,” Biden says in closing the ad. “I’d be looking to lower the temperature in this country, not raise it. Donald Trump is determined to instill fear in America because Donald Trump adds fuel to every fire. This is not who we are. I believe we’ll be guided by the words of Pope John Paul II, words drawn from the Scripture: Be not afraid.”

Author: Tyler Olson, Allie Raffa

Source: Fox News: New Biden ad blitz slams rioting, blames president for violence: ‘Donald Trump adds fuel to every fire’

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