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Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office attempted to “bully” her and her staff ahead of a damning op-ed in which she directly blamed him for the deaths of her in-laws due to COVID-19.
Dean, who has been a frequent, vocal critic of Cuomo’s March executive action ordering eldercare facilities to accept patients and residents infected with the novel coronavirus — a decision critics say led to thousands of unnecessary deaths — said on Twitter she got the treatment after attempting to contact the governor’s office for comment.
“We reached out to @NYGovCuomo’s office last night re: my OpEd. They reacted right away wanting an embargoed copy. We said they could read it at 5am and give reaction then. They asked my producer Sam to ask us the exact date my in-laws died and what nursing home they were in,” she wrote.
My producer Sam called my husband because I was asleep. He said to tell the governor we’re not comfortable giving out information until you give @TheJusticeDept the total number of all the senior deaths. It was a bully tactic which they’re known for and I addressed in the essay.
— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) January 4, 2021
“My producer Sam called my husband because I was asleep. He said to tell the governor we’re not comfortable giving out information until you give @TheJusticeDept the total number of all the senior deaths. It was a bully tactic which they’re known for and I addressed in the essay,” she added.
Dean, in her op-ed, noted that the March 25 order — which has since been taken offline — from Cuomo and his New York Department of Health chief, Dr. Howard Zucker was aimed at reducing the number of people in hospitals to free up space for an anticipated crush of COVID patients.
“During this global health emergency, all NHs [nursing homes] must comply with the expedited receipt of residents returning from hospitals,” the order stated.
Dean said that New York State was the only one “that barred tested” of incoming eldercare residents “to see if they were newly infected or perhaps still contagious.”
“When I look back on our own family experience it comes down to this: The dangerous people (those who were recovering from COVID-19) were forced into nursing homes, putting others in extreme danger,” she wrote. “And people that could make a difference in the residents’ physical and emotional well-being (the family members) still, as of this date, are not being allowed into those facilities.
“We didn’t find out about the order until it was too late. Perhaps if we had known sooner we would’ve had a chance to react, and save them,” she further noted.
Dean also lambasted Cuomo for stating, early on, that New Yorkers had nothing to fear from the virus, while later taking no blame or responsibility for any of his decisions — even as he was feted by the media, given awards, and published a book on COVID “leadership.”
She said that while Cuomo’s administration officially says that about 6,500 nursing home patients died from the virus, “estimates are much, much higher” and perhaps as many as 10,000.
The senior meteorologist discussed the nursing home order with Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin, who owns and operates an eldercare facility, Van Rensselaer Manor. She said he said it is appropriate to question the motives behind the March order because it doesn’t seem logical given what experts knew early on about the virus — that it is far more deadly to older people, especially those with preexisting medical conditions.
“The fact that the governor and his team will not answer questions on the subject only raises more questions. The governor’s administration issued the order in March, but now no one from his team seems interested in taking ownership,” McLaughlin told Dean.
“Was the memo pushing COVID-19 patients a huge mistake or done to give cover to nursing homeowners who may be political allies? The families of those who lost loved ones deserve an answer,” he added.
In April, just weeks after his nursing home order, Cuomo signed legislation that gave hospital and nursing home executives immunity from lawsuits stemming from the pandemic.
His signature came on the heels of a $1 million donation from the Greater New York Hospital Association to the New York State Democratic Committee, the latter of which was behind Cuomo’s successful 2018 primary bid.
In closing, Dean ripped Cuomo for failing to follow his own advice on transparency.
“Your mistakes cost us the lives of our family members, governor. But rest assured, we, the People will be strong in our fight for answers and accountability. And the more you try to silence us, the louder our voices will become,” she wrote.
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