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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was blasted by protesters gathered outside of a nursing home where a casket had been placed holding thousands of covers of the Democrat’s new book.
The group came together in front of a Cobble Hill, Brooklyn nursing home on Sunday to call out the governor and his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state, and the policy back in March which mandated that patients not be turned away from the facilities despite their positive coronavirus diagnosis.
During a press briefing on Sunday, Cuomo admitted that his administration should have done a better job handling the nursing home population in the state which has seen nearly 33,000 deaths from the virus, with almost 24,000 being concentrated in New York City alone. The New York Department of Health has reported that more than 6,500 people in nursing homes died from confirmed or presumed coronavirus-related issues.
Protesters gathered Sunday blamed Cuomo for the deaths and used a casket filled with about 6,500 covers of his newly-released book, called “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean, who lost both of her in-laws to the virus, also spoke with the demonstrators outside of the Cobble Hill Health Center.
“My mother-in-law got COVID in an elder-care facility but died in a hospital, [so] her number does not count,” Dean said.
“At the very beginning, I wouldn’t have blamed anyone,’’ she added. “We were in the middle of a pandemic. But then I saw the governor on CNN and the various talk shows talking about his love life and talking about how he brought the curve down to nothing.”
Peter Arbeeny, who organized the event, told the New York Post that Cuomo, “hasn’t given us an independent investigation [into the alleged nursing-home debacle] so we can get to the truth.”
“The families in front of you deserve to know the truth,” Arbeeny added. “We are all COVID orphans now.”
His 89-year-old father Norman, a Korean War veteran, was was one of about 56 people who died from COVID-19 at the Brooklyn facility.
“And if somebody made a mistake — and with it all that was going on, it was a crazy time — we would forgive,” Arbeeny continued. “Maybe somebody wouldn’t forgive, but we would forgive. You get a sincere apology when truth comes out, and then we all know, and then we can move on. And we can celebrate the good things.”
We will never know for sure how many lives this decision was ultimately responsible for ending. But, we do know that to this day, Cuomo continues to lie about how many people died in nursing homes, by not counting nursing home residents who die at the hospital. Awful. 41/
— Stu Burguiere (@StuDoesAmerica) October 15, 2020
Cuomo has been slammed for releasing his new book, on the heels of the pandemic’s devastation, which describes “how he took charge in the fight against COVID-19 as New York became the epicenter of the pandemic, offering hard-won lessons in leadership and his vision for the path forward.”
“Any pandemic plan, which we spent a billion dollars on here in New York, would say ‘protect the most vulnerable population,’ first thing you do,” one demonstrator said on Sunday. “Here’s the most vulnerable population—nursing homes, like Cobble Hill Health Center. And we didn’t do that. In fact, we did just the opposite.”
The protest was staged as a “funeral” and demonstrators demanded an apology from the governor.
There was a funeral today for the Governor’s leadership and his fictional new book. pic.twitter.com/JOKG30nGnv
— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) October 18, 2020
— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) October 18, 2020
A spokesman for the governor blamed “right-wing agitators” and appeared to dismiss the protest.
“We mourn with every family who lost someone during this pandemic and hope they look past the misinformation and outright lies that have been manufactured by right-wing agitators and their allies looking to cover for the federal government’s many, many failures,” Rich Azzopardi said, according to The Post.
“The fact remains that every state across the nation is grappling with how to keep nursing home patients safe and tackle the root cause of infections — asymptomatic staffers who through no fault of their own bring in the virus,” he added.
Cuomo addressed some of the criticism at his COVID-19 press briefing on Sunday, blaming infected staff for bringing the virus into facilities while appearing to admit that more could have been done to protect the vulnerable senior citizens.
NY Gov. Cuomo: “New Yorkers were heroic specifically in nursing homes.” pic.twitter.com/6YT76MZLWN
— The Hill (@thehill) October 18, 2020
“But can anyone say that a virus that targets the weak and the seniors, [that] we can keep them safe? Nobody can say that,’’ the governor said Sunday, claiming that nursing homes would have to be “a hermetically sealed bubble’’ to be totally safe.
I am grateful that almost every article, review and television interview I’ve seen or read about @NYGovCuomo’s new book has included the nursing home tragedy, and how terribly he handled it. The truth is crystal clear and no amount of blame or gaslighting will prove otherwise.
— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) October 15, 2020
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