Janice Dean’s in-laws died of coronavirus infections in New York nursing homes. But when she tried recently to testify against the policy that potentially led to their deaths, lawmakers told the Fox News meteorologist her story makes them too “uncomfortable.”
“I think the New York Democratic senators are more uncomfortable with the truth than the person who has a story to tell,” Dean told Faithwire via email. “And that’s very sad. I feel lucky, regardless, that I’ve been able to have a voice for others who don’t have one.”
Here’s the story:
In late March, Dean’s father-in-law contracted COVID-19 and eventually passed away due to complications from the virus. His wife died of the same novel illness just two weeks later.
At the center of Dean’s concerns is an executive order signed March 25 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who in recent weeks has applauded himself for his handling of the once-burgeoning pandemic. The mandate ordered recovering coronavirus patients be placed in nursing homes and elder care facilities and also blocked nursing home administrators from requiring incoming residents “to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”
The edict has been roundly condemned, given more than 40% of the COVID-19 deaths around the country have been linked to nursing homes. In New York, the official death count in nursing homes is 6,600 people. There is reason, though, to believe that number could be off by thousands: the Empire State counts only those who died of COVID-19 while on nursing home properties, not including those who were transferred to hospitals and died while being treated elsewhere. So far, Cuomo has refused to divulge that number.
Amid the criticism, state lawmakers have convened hearings over the government’s handling of the pandemic. But it appears the meetings are more a political stunt than a good faith investigation into Cuomo’s governance over the health crisis.
The reality of the situation has only become more obvious over the last 24 hours.
Dean, during an appearance Tuesday morning on “Fox & Friends,” told the co-hosts she heard from state Sen. Tom O’Mara (R) after appearing on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Monday evening. The meteorologist said O’Mara admitted to her some of his fellow lawmakers “were uncomfortable” with the idea of hearing her testify during the meetings about Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic.
Speaking to prime-time Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Dean accused Cuomo of blaming “everybody except the person who signed the mandate, the order to bring COVID patients into nursing homes.”
“He signed the order,” she continued. “At the very beginning, he said, ‘If you have a problem with what happens in New York, you blame me. The buck stops at my desk.’ He has never taken any responsibility or accountability, and as you just played, he has blamed everyone except himself.”
Cuomo has blamed both God and “Mother Nature” for the nursing’s home deaths. He has also blamed the New York Post, “dirty politics,” and infected hospital staffers as well as visitors, which makes little sense, given people were barred from visiting nursing homes. In addition, the Democratic governor has rejected calls for an independent investigation into the issue, because he investigated himself and found no issues with his work.
In July, during a call with Faithwire, Dean said she was looking forward to attending and potentially testifying about her family’s tragic experience with New York nursing homes. But in recent days, the Fox News personality has been repeatedly pushed aside as lawmakers have told her they don’t “have room” for her and her reality is just too “uncomfortable” to face.
“I want answers, I want accountability,” Dean said Tuesday morning. “[T]he governor’s hiding, and because he says he doesn’t want an independent investigation, that, to me, there’s something wrong with that, because if he wasn’t guilty of something, why wouldn’t he welcome any and all investigations into his government?”
She previously told Faithwire she wants to hear from Cuomo why his nursing home policy “was in place for 46 days straight and how we can do better the next time, because there will be a next time, and we have to learn from the mistakes that were made.”