New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a tragic blunder when he forced COVID-19 patients back into nursing homes, directly resulting in the deaths of many vulnerable residents.
In a story that unfortunately can be retold thousands of times over, author and “Fox & Friends” weather anchor and co-host Janice Dean recounted what happened to her husband’s parents, who succumbed to the virus because of Cuomo’s incompetent and reckless handling of the pandemic.
In an opinion piece published in USA Today on Wednesday, Dean criticized the Democratic governor for not only for his refusal to take responsibility but also his self-congratulation on a job well done.
“Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s motto during the coronavirus pandemic has always been ‘New York Tough.’ It’s the title of the new poster he commissioned and is selling to commemorate what appears to be his own personal journey during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dean wrote.
“But when it comes to tough questions about his leadership during this time, Cuomo has shown he isn’t so tough after all. In fact,” she continued, “he prefers to place blame on anyone but himself for the disastrous decisions he’s made.”
Last week, Cuomo revealed a poster that depicted the statistical curve of the outbreak as a mountain adorned with vintage-style illustrations, political jabs and cutesy inside jokes, even as the drawing traced the arc of a line that represented the dead in his state.
“The Sea of Division. The Boyfriend Cliff. The Sun On The Other Side. See it all for yourself,” Cuomo tweeted with the image.
The Sea of Division. The Boyfriend Cliff. The Sun On The Other Side. See it all for yourself.
Pre-order the #NewYorkTough poster here:
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) July 14, 2020
“Many of us aren’t laughing,” Dean said. “My husband’s parents died of coronavirus in their elder care facilities. We lost his dad in late March and his mom two weeks later.
“My family wasn’t able to see them before they died, they weren’t given last rites, wakes, or funerals. They died alone.”
Dean said her father-in-law, Mickey Newman, was a U.S. Air Force veteran and retired New York Fire Department firefighter, and mother-in-law Dee raised her three children and cherished her grandchildren.
They were proud lifelong New Yorkers, living in the same Brooklyn apartment for half a century before their deteriorating health forced them into separate elder care facilities only months before they died of COVID-19.
Dean and her family accepted the deaths as part of the ongoing outbreak — until they realized the governor’s role in the tragedy.
“Then we learned about the Cuomo administration’s March 25 order that recovering coronavirus patients be placed into nursing homes,” Dean said. “The mandate also barred nursing homes from requiring incoming patients ‘to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.’”
Cuomo’s nursing home policy was meant to alleviate hospital overcrowding, but as The New York Times reported, many field hospitals set up for that purpose went largely underutilized, including a facility at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens that cost $52 million but treated only 79 patients despite having hundreds of available beds and adequate, trained medical staff at the ready.
Dean cited the fact that at least 6,500 people in care facilities lost their lives as Cuomo’s deadly policy stayed in place for 46 days.
“Even the governor himself said the virus could sweep though nursing homes ‘like fire through dry grass,'” she said.
Although the reality of this bloodbath directly correlated to Cuomo’s policy, Dean recounted how the governor was treated as a hero in the establishment media with “puff piece interviews on ‘Good Morning America,’ ‘CBS Sunday Morning,’ ‘The Tonight Show’ by Jimmy Fallon and People magazine.”
“The insensitivity of it was infuriating,” she said. “The death toll in our senior living facilities in New York alone was bigger than 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina combined. Where is the outrage?”
Despite all of his blustering about how he’d shoulder the blame for decisions such as closing businesses during the pandemic, Cuomo has yet to take responsibility for the disaster he created in nursing homes.
“Instead, he’s blamed everyone and everything else: God, Mother Nature, the New York Post, the president, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and nursing care workers, claiming ‘they brought in the infection.’ He even at one point appeared to blame those who had died,” she said, quoting Cuomo’s cavalier “we can’t keep everyone alive” statement.
Cuomo has received some blowback for the “tone deaf” message of his poster, and a questionable report from his own Health Department exonerating in the nursing home debacle was met with suspicion.
Yet the establishment media are still advancing the narrative that New York was a coronavirus success story, as is White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci.
“We know that, when you do it properly, you bring down those cases,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said. “We have done it. We have done it in New York.”
“New York got hit worse than any place in the world. And they did it correctly by doing the things that you’re talking about,” Fauci told host Amna Nawaz on “PBS News Hour” on July 17, referring to measures such as closing bars and instituting social distancing.
In reality, the state likely brought its cases down by simply allowing vulnerable people to be wiped out in the beginning.
This unqualified praise for a failed governor has been coupled with hysterical predictions for places such as Florida, where Republican Gov. Rob DeSantis was hammered for the state’s rising case numbers as it attempted to reopen.
However, in comparison, Florida has seen a little over 5,600 coronavirus deaths to New York’s over 32,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University statistics Friday. DeSantis also was careful to keep the virus out of nursing homes from the beginning, in contrast to Cuomo’s disastrous edict.
“Early on during the pandemic, Florida led the charge to prohibit the discharge of #COVID19 positive patients back to their residence in long-term care facilities & @AHCA_FL established COVID-exclusive nursing homes to care for these patients,” DeSantis tweeted of his handling of coronavirus patients.
“COVID-exclusive facilities are relieving pressure on both long-term care facilities & hospitals. Florida now has 20 of these facilities operational with 5 more pending. Ultimately, this will amount to nearly 1,700 beds.”
COVID-exclusive facilities are relieving pressure on both long-term care facilities & hospitals. Florida now has 20 of these facilities operational with 5 more pending. Ultimately, this will amount to nearly 1,700 beds.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) July 21, 2020
But ultimately, even as the lines are clearly drawn along party lines, Dean wasn’t concerned about the political aspect.
“It’s about accountability for what happened to our parents and grandparents, who trusted us to look out for them,” she said.
“My in-laws Mickey and Dee Newman were New York tough. The governor? He’s as weak as they come,” Dean concluded.
And it’s doubtful that praise from the likes of Dr. Fauci or a silly political poster will convince Dean and her family otherwise as they mourn the untimely deaths of their loved ones.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.