Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean says the media is complicit in New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s cover-up of the ballooning death count in New York nursing homes due to the coronavirus, and has failed to hold him accountable for his fatal policies that caused more than 15,000 elderly people in assisted living to die.
“I think it’s just a good example of the double standard,” Dean told Fox News in an interview Saturday. Her in-laws died last year due to contracting COVID-19 in an assisted living facility, and she has been an outspoken critic of the Democratic governor’s policies ever since.
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“It was infuriating because not only did they [the media] protect Cuomo, but they encouraged him to promote himself,” Dean said of the lack of media coverage following the bombshell admission this week by a top Cuomo aide that the administration purposely withheld COVID-19 data amid a Justice Department probe of nursing home fatalities in four states, including New York.
“All of the major news networks were showing fluff pieces of him and his family, his book. He sold a poster showing that COVID mountain and the fact that he had flattened the curve. He was promoting himself and making money off of the deaths of 40,000 New Yorkers,” Fox News’ senior meteorologist said.
Dean said her family didn’t even know her husband’s dad was ill until one Saturday morning in late March when they got a phone call from the nursing home he was in.
“We were in quarantine so we weren’t able to see them,” she said. “The people who worked at the nursing home were eyes and ears for us. We didn’t even know he was sick. We got a call saying he wasn’t feeling well and three hours later we got a call back saying he was dead. We didn’t know he died of COVID until the death certificate.”
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Dean’s mother-in-law also met a similar fate.
“My mother in law got COVID in an assisted living facility and she died in the hospital. And her number doesn’t count,” Dean said, referring to the tally the state keeps of COVID-related deaths.
Cuomo’s administration admitted in a letter to New York lawmakers Wednesday that the actual death toll for seniors in nursing homes was 15,049 — nearly 10,000 more than the health department reported at the end of January.
“We knew this whole time,” Dean said. “That’s why I’ve been speaking out since May. We knew that they were not reporting the total number because they weren’t counting the number of dead in the hospital that got COVID from their nursing homes, like my mother-in-law.”
Dean is pushing for lawmakers to open up an investigation into Cuomo’s leadership throughout the pandemic and be held accountable for the deaths that resulted from his earlier directive for nursing homes in the Empire State to accept patients who had or were suspected of having COVID-19.
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“I think now they have to do something now that there is a senior-level official on tape basically saying they covered up the numbers. They have to do something now. They’re sort of backed into a corner,” she said of the Democratic leadership in New York’s state Assembly.
“Now that there’s sort of safety in numbers and knowing that there’s a smoking gun out there and knowing that their constituents are interested in the story because it’s affected so many New Yorkers and shouldn’t have a political affiliation.”
Dean also blasted Cuomo’s handling of recent nursing home visitation, which remains extremely limited amid the pandemic.
“I talk to people all the time who are at their wit’s end because they still can’t to this day go in and see their loved ones and there’s all sorts of talk about going to sporting events and having rapid testing and that sort of thing well why can’t they see their family members? Even people in jail, there’s a protocol that they can go see their loved ones or whoever but they can’t go see them in a nursing home,” she said.
Cuomo has authorized limited visitation, mostly outdoors, during the pandemic, but for elderly patients who are bed-bound or who are unable to go outside due to frigid winter weather, the options are few and far between.
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“From the very beginning, Cuomo does not listen to science,” she added. “I think he listens to people who line his pockets and I think that this is a corrupt administration. There needs to be a lot of investigation into how he leads, why he has so much power.”
Cuomo’s office did not return Fox News’ repeated requests for comment.