On Monday morning, Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean continued her unrelenting fight against Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), penning a lengthy, 3,500-word-plus FoxNews.com item recapping Cuomo’s arrogance, failure to lead, and refusal to admit wrongdoing with his reckless coronavirus nursing home order.
Following an appearance on Fox & Friends, Dean revealed that an attempt to seek comment from Cuomo’s office was met with more bullying and stonewalling instead of admission for why coronavirus patients were placed in nursing homes.
Dean’s piece began with a bang (click “expand”):
"We will make mistakes in life. We try not to, but we do. The key is to be strong and secure enough to admit your mistakes and admit your shortcomings." – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in November 2020 speaking at Riverside Church in Manhattan after releasing his book about leadership in the middle of a pandemic.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s "leadership" memoir "American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic" was written and promoted in 2020 while over 30,000 New Yorkers died from the coronavirus (the largest number of deaths of any state) with an overwhelming percentage of those deaths coming from residents in nursing homes.
Mind you, before the "American Crisis" book, there was the poster the governor helped create (and sold) of a mountain representing the "curve" on a graph of all the cases (and deaths) in New York.
There were little pictures of all the things Cuomo loved about himself. His sports car, his dog, his staff members, the "boyfriend" of one of his daughter’s depicted hanging off a cliff and a giant nose with a cotton swab inside of it. The giant nose image was perhaps a reference to a giggly interview with his news anchor brother Chris on CNN about getting a COVID test while body bags were piling up in storage trucks outside of funeral homes in the state.
The governor, it would seem, is a big fan of props. At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, he introduced a wall of masks during a press conference while hospitals were complaining of PPE shortages. Then in May, his giant Q-Tip comedy routine with brother Chris began on cable news. The governor also had someone make a bizarre giant plastic COVID mountain to go with his poster demonstrating at a press conference how he had "flattened the curve" of coronavirus cases in New York.
Referring shortly thereafter to his book, Dean slammed Cuomo for having “lined his pockets as he continues to profit off the deaths of tens of thousands of New Yorkers,” including her in-laws Mickey and Dee Newman after having contracted COVID-19 while “in their separate elder care facilities.”
Dean repeatedly emphasized these deaths were avoidable and she wouldn’t be as vocal if Cuomo and New York State officials were more forthcoming about their failures. But alas, Cuomo and friends have yet to show compassion as the left has erected a false portrait of Cuomo as a steady hand during this difficult period (and with plenty of help from outlets like CNN).
After noting Cuomo having tag-teamed with celebrities to “raise tens of thousands of dollars for the governor’s reelection campaign while small businesses went bankrupt and restaurants in New York closed their doors for good,” Dean gave a thorough rundown of the Cuomo administration’s nursing home decision (click “expand”):
[A]nd his mom Matilda was getting a law named after her, because Cuomo "knew" our seniors were vulnerable to the virus. He talked with great concern about our greatest generation on March 20:
"Who are we worried about? Seniors, compromised immune system, people with underlying illnesses. Where are the places we're really worried about? Nursing homes, senior congregate facilities."
He also said that protecting the nursing home residents was the state’s top priority, calling the threat "fire through dry grass."
Five days after enacting Matilda’s Law to help protect the elderly, Cuomo signed his executive order that helped execute thousands of those he said he would help keep safe.
On March 25, Cuomo and his health commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker issued an executive directive that required New York nursing home facilities to accept patients who were diagnosed with COVID-19 from hospitals. The reason was to free up hospital bed space for what was predicted to be an overwhelming number of people who would contract the virus.
The order stated that if a hospital determined a patient who needed nursing home care was medically stable, the home had to accept them, even if they had been treated for COVID-19. Nursing homes could not test incoming residents to see if they were newly infected or perhaps still contagious.
New York was the only state that barred testing of those being placed or returning to nursing homes.
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. 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.
When the nursing home mandate was first issued, the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, known as AMDA, had sent out a warning email stating that Cuomo’s order admitting infected patients posed a "clear and present danger" to nursing home residents. Jeffrey N. Nichols, who serves on the executive committee of the group, said, "the effect of that order was to contribute to the thousands of deaths."
Those in the nursing home industry that I’ve talked to say they believed it to be mandatory and would’ve done anything to stop it from happening.
And when it came to the order itself, Dean recounted how the document explaining said order “was removed from the NYS Health Department website shortly after it was reversed on May 10.” Talk about a smoking gun in terms of admitting guilt.
In much the same vein, Dean pointed out that there’s still no definitive number of New Yorkers who perished from COVID-19 in nursing homes over the course of the order’s 46 days (emphasis mine):
“The official number the governor and his health commissioner go by is around 6,500 deaths. However, estimates are much, much higher. At least 10,000 by many accounts…Geriatrics experts say this number doesn’t make sense when other states are more than triple what the governor was spouting as facts.
Throughout the column’s latter half, Dean brought up the fact that Cuomo’s office had yet to provide the real numbers to anyone, whether it be the Justice Department, local news outlets, or think tanks.
In contrast to Cuomo’s constant blame-game for said deaths, Dean cited a number of solutions going forward (including the use of the Javits Center as overflow instead of nursing homes).
Dean went onto cite an example of intimidation she’s dealt with personally as part of her closing (which included a direct message to Cuomo) (click “expand”):
In my months of trying to find out answers for my own family, I’ve been frustrated by the lack of questions Cuomo gets asked about the nursing home massacre at his daily briefings and when he was promoting his book on "leadership."
There have been many calls for an independent, bipartisan investigation into the nursing home tragedy, especially after an internal NYS Health Department study (conducted by Cuomo’s own administration) dismissed the COVID-19 recovering patients as the reason for the thousands of deaths, and instead blamed staff members and visitors. The governor’s investigation of himself was panned for its complete whitewash of his failed response.
There were state hearings in August about the nursing home tragedy to which I was invited to testify. I was hoping my family’s story would add to evidence piling up about the governor’s negligence when it came to nursing homes.
And then suddenly I was not allowed to appear in front of lawmakers. I was told there were emails sent from someone on the committee that was "uncomfortable with my appearance" and my invitation was rescinded.
What was meant to be a deterrent to silence my voice instead made me even more determined to speak out, and my response is:
If anybody has the right to feel uncomfortable, it is the thousands of family members who lost loved ones. Many who would still be here today if they were better protected at a time when they were most vulnerable.
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.
Later Monday morning, Dean tweeted that she had sought comment from Cuomo’s office and, on Sunday night, an aide demanded “an embargoed copy” and “the exact date my in-laws died and what nursing home they were in.”
With Dean asleep, Dean’s husband Sean Neuman replied and, in Dean’s words, told her producer to inform Cuomo’s office that “we’re not comfortable giving out information until you give [the Justice Department] 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.
And with outlets ranging from ABC to CNN continuing to play footsie with Cuomo instead of holding him accountable, it’s left to Dean and hurting families (plus a few outlets committed to real journalism) to continue the fight.