While Gov. Andrew Cuomo works on his new book, a bipartisan group of New York state lawmakers are working on getting to the bottom of how over 6,000 nursing home patients died during the coronavirus outbreak, what role his nursing home mandate played in it, and whether that number is way undercounted.
At an Albany press conference on Wednesday, New York Sen. Jim Tedisco (R-Glenville) and Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens), who lost his uncle in a nursing home, explained that their legislation would establish a panel with subpoena power to perform a top-to-bottom review of the 6,400 fatalities so far recorded at elder care facilities.
"We have to get the best realistic answers as to why this happened, and how we're going to stop this happening," Tedisco said.
"We need the rest of the facts, and they haven't been presented to us," Kim agreed.
Joining them at their press conference on Wednesday was Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean, who lost both of her in-laws in New York nursing homes this year. She has made no secret that she blames Cuomo for forcing long term care facilities to accept recovering COVID patients.
Thank you to all the wonderful people in Albany who invited me to be part of proposed legislation to find answers for all those who lost loved ones to Covid in nursing homes. This is not about politics. It’s about finding the truth and making sure it never happens again. pic.twitter.com/23ZNBPCiWI— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) August 19, 2020
“I am grateful and honored to be part of this call for the passage of bipartisan legislation for an independent investigation with Senator Tedisco and Assemblyman Kim this week,” Dean said. “It’s the stories of the families who have experienced the greatest loss in this pandemic — that can help us uncover what really happened.”
Dean told Fox News on Thursday that the New York lawmakers she met in Albany told her that they haven't seen this kind of a bipartisan effort "in a long time." Ten people were there to represent each side, she recalled.
An outside investigation is necessary, they argue, because they don't trust the New York State Department of Health report that concluded the governor's mandate had no significant effect on the increase in fatalities. Moreover, they believe that the state has severely undercounted the number of deaths, because New York is the only state in the nation that does not count it as a nursing home death if a resident who had COVID was transferred to a hospital and died in the hospital. New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker refused to provide an actual number at last week's hearings.
Dean, who finally got a chance to testify before state lawmakers on Monday, said that she was disgusted by Cuomo's new book deal, which he is flouting as families like hers are still grieving.
.@NYGovCuomo should be writing condolence cards to families who’s loved ones died thanks to his deadly nursing home mandate instead of writing a book about his so called leadership.— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) August 20, 2020