New Yorkers finally were given a chance to share their experiences related to the mandates in the state to send COVID infected individuals back into nursing homes in the state.
New York had the highest rate of deaths of any state in the US and this is due to the inhumane and murderous policies of Governor Cuomo and his Department of Health.
On Monday, August 17, additional hearings were held in New York State over the shocking number of senior citizen deaths in NY’s nursing homes, due to the March 25 Covid-19 edict of Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo which barred nursing homes from REFUSING to accept recovering Covid-19 positive hospital patients.
The Republican members of NY’s Democrat-controlled legislature, led by Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt (R,C,IP) and Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R,C,IP) convened the hearings in response to prior legislative hearings held on August 3 and August 10, in which the minority was blocked from both issuing subpoenas and calling witnesses. Democrats also refused Republicans’ demand that Governor Cuomo and Department of Health (DOH) Health Commissioner Howard Zucker be subpoenaed to testify.
The archives of these hearings can only be found on the NYS Senate GOP’s Facebook page because, according to both NYS legislative chambers’ official calendars, they never even occurred. NY’s progressive Democrat-controlled legislature in protecting Democrat Cuomo’s back, prevented New York families’, with whom it felt “uncomfortable” – and we don’t know how many families that is – from being allowed to testify and expose the facts about their family members’ last days.
We felt it important that you hear eyewitness accounts directly from some of the families whose loved ones recently died in a NYS nursing home due to this March 25 order. These families had great courage to share their firsthand accounts of the agonizing family crises they were put through and are still enduring. These families are important. Their words matter. Their stories are tragic and powerful. Despite still actively mourning their losses, they spoke up.
We now know, from a July 6 DOH report, that these patients were being actively moved into more than half of NY’s 613 nursing homes between March 25 and May 8. Therefore, per the direct orders of DOH Commissioner Howard Zucker, for forty-six continuous days – at an average of 137 patients per day – recovering Covid-19 hospital patients were being actively transferred INTO New York’s nursing homes.
Eleven Families Who Lost Loved Ones Shared Their Stories
These stories of eleven families – and one very factual county public health director – are representative of the thousands of New York families across this state’s sixty-two counties which have lost loved ones in New York’s nursing homes, due to Cuomo’s March 25 order and the abysmal conditions in many of these nursing homes. An August 11 AP story disputes the NYSDOH’s official number, estimating the number of NY nursing home deaths at likely more than 11,000. NY’s number is artificially low because it, unlike every other state in the nation, does not include the number of nursing home residents who subsequently died in a hospital.
These grieving New York families reveal the grim facts regarding their loved ones’ unnecessary, lonely and, in some cases, cruel Covid-19 deaths. Some nursing home residents were literally trapped inside Cuomo’s facilities, unable to communicate with their families. Families weren’t told their loved one had Covid symptoms. They were lied to. Many of these elderly residents died all alone. Most did not have proper funerals and burials.
Traci Ann Alvino, whose Dad was a Viet Nam Era veteran and who was recovering from surgery in a nursing home, contracted Covid and died, testified, “The only reason we are here today is because of the criminally negligent decisions of Governor Andrew Cuomo … Did anyone in Cuomo’s administration give any sort of pause to this directive, that it wasn’t a good idea to put these infected patients in with the most vulnerable?”
JoAnn Williams, who lost her 86-year-old father in a Westchester nursing home asked, “How come I wasn’t given the notice that there was an executive order for positive Covid patients entering into his nursing home putting him in danger? … Why were we just ignored?”
Danielle Messina, who lost her 70-year-old father to Covid-19, presented direct proof that the NYSDOH was, in fact, allowing Covid-positive hospital patients to be transferred into nursing homes. “They called an ambulance and sent him alone to the hospital … he received the rapid Covid test … After he was tested they sent him right back to the nursing home on his regular unit … With that, he infected his whole floor and the whole unit, just like how he was infected … Two days’ later test results came back positive, then he was moved to a Covid floor.”
The families were utterly powerless to do a thing to protect their family members. Some never saw their loved ones again. Many made multiple, frantic phone calls to the nursing homes which went unanswered. Some, after it had been clinically relayed to them over the phone that their loved one was not going to make it, were cruelly denied end-of-life visits, a last hug, a final good-bye, despite the March 13 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Covid-19 regulations, which clearly and unequivocally required these nursing homes to allow in-person visits in such “compassionate cases.”
Janice Dean, a New Yorker and the popular Fox News’ meteorologist who lost both of her in-laws, Mickey and Dee, to Covid-19, was one the eleven families which testified. She was disinvited from testifying at the August 10 hearings because New York’s Senate majority felt “uncomfortable.” During her testimony, Dean stated, “I don’t think it’s me they’re uncomfortable with. It’s the cover-up and the truth that happened in New York nursing homes.” She echoed the emotions of other families: “Our grief and confusion turned to anger as we learned more about how eldercare homes were turned into death traps. Our most vulnerable loved ones could not protect themselves.” Dean is calling for “a full, bipartisan, outside investigation with subpoena power.”
Another New Yorker, Jennifer Harrison, testified as to how her family, and Long Island, tragically lost ‘Long Island’s own Rosie the Riveter’ and ‘Long Island’s Homefront Sisters,’ Theresa & Jo, two sisters who proudly supported our country here at home during WWII, and who both died within two days of each other at the Smithtown Center for Rehabilitation. She stated, “[They] were both very healthy, and who knows how long they would have lived had Governor Cuomo not knowingly handed them death sentences with his March 25 directive, forcing unequipped nursing homes to accept Covid-positive patients.”
Dawn Best, who lost her eighty-three-year-old mother in a Long Island nursing home on April 19, included a video clip of Cuomo in her testimony: “I’d like to end with Governor Cuomo himself stating on March 29, four days after he sent the Covid in, that he knew that the virus preyed on seniors. [Video of Cuomo speaking] ‘This virus preys on the vulnerable, it preys on seniors, it preys on people with compromised immune systems and underlying illnesses, and coronavirus in a nursing home can be like fire through dry grass.’ Governor Cuomo knew what would happen. … He knew it would happen to the nursing homes when he sent the positive Covid patients in and he did it anyway. His actions showed a reckless disregard of consequences and the consequences were mass fatalities. He is guilty of gross negligence at the very least.”
The GWP exclusively broke that, shockingly, there is clear evidence that Zucker secretly issued TWO ADDITIONAL SUCH MANDATES, virtually identical to his March 25 nursing home order, moving Covid-positive hospital patients in with seniors residing in adult care facilities and also in with disabled individuals residing in NY’s group homes, overseen by the NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).
We have no idea how many vulnerable, disabled New Yorkers have been infected nor died in these facilities as a result.
This past week the DOJ announced that it has requested data from four Democrat governors on their orders to send sick COVID-19 patients to nursing homes. We’ll see if any real justice occurs.