Family members of New York nursing home residents who say their relatives contracted coronavirus and died after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s March 25 directive held a memorial on Sunday with attendees including Fox News’ Janice Dean.
Dean, who attributes her in-laws’ coronavirus deaths to Cuomo’s directive, said she and the other rally attendees had become like family.
“I’m here today as a grieving family member, not someone who is politically motivated, which our governor likes to call me,” she said. “We are bound togther because we want answers, and we will not stop.”
Dean’s in-laws, Mickey and Dee Newman, died in spring 2020.
Protesters against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes COVID-19 deaths, gather outside Cobble Hill Health Center nursing home on Sunday, March 21, 2021 in New York. (AP Photo/David Crary)
“We had no idea [Mickey Newman] had died of Covid until we saw the death certificate,” Dean said. “We had no idea there was a March 25 order for Covid-positive patients to nursing homes. My husband had to deliver the news to his mother that his father was dead, and she was heartbroken. Two weeks later she got Covid.”
Family members constructed a “We Care Memorial Wall” with photos of their lost loved ones.
New York City Councilmember Brad Lander and New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim also attended the rally organized by Peter and Daniel Arbeeny, two brothers who blame Cuomo for their father’s death in 2020.
“There’s 100,000 people like me and those around me who lost the ones they loved most,” Daniel Arbeeny said.
Peter Arbeeny thanked nursing home staff and said he does not blame individual nursing homes or workers.
“As a Covid orphan, we need answers, we need an apology and we need a fair investigation,” he said.
New York lawmakers are preparing an impeachment investigation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Kim was an early proponent of impeachment.
“When I got that call from Cuomo threatening my career and my livelihood to lie for him … I was afraid he would escape accountabilty,” Kim told the crowd, adding that he lost his uncle to coronavirus in a nursing home.
“His reign of abusive power will end soon because there are way too many decent people in the city of New York to let this guy go unchecked. … We will find the truth,” Kim said.
Attendees held signs with slogans including “Cuomo made our parents ‘uncomfortable’ #SeniorsToo” and “Apologize Andrew!”
Cuomo has faced criticism from both Republicans and Democrats for his administration’s March 25 directive that barred nursing homes and other long-term care locations from turning away thousands of coronavirus-infected seniors.
Despite Cuomo’s efforts to attribute the controversy to partisan politics, as questions swirling around his handling of the pandemic continue, his administration was forced to admit that nursing home deaths had topped 15,000 – nearly 10,000 more than was originally reported by the state at the end of January.