Relatives who have lost loved ones infected with COVID-19 in nursing homes in upstate New York plan to hold a mock funeral on Sunday to mark the death of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “ leadership and integrity. ”
The demonstration aims to increase public pressure on Cuomo, the largely popular New York governor whose controversial injunction requiring nursing homes to take COVID-19 patients back from hospitals has reportedly resulted in the deaths of thousands.
The next of kin will hold the demonstration Sunday at noon outside the Cobble Hill Health Center in northwest Brooklyn.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nursing home in Cobble Hill is said to have reported the highest number of deaths of any retirement home in the state – 56.
Daniel Arbeeny, 57, helps organize a mock funeral for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “ leadership and integrity ” on Sunday in front of a Brooklyn nursing home where his father was a patient before dying from COVID-19 earlier this year. Arbeeny is seen above in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, holding up a photo of his late father, Norman
The Cobble Hill Health Center is said to be the most affected nursing home during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to data, at least 55 patients from the facility died from the virus. During the COVID-19 outbreak in April, a patient is driven out of the Cobble Hill nursing home
Cuomo has denied that a controversial New York State directive requiring nursing homes to take back COVID-19 patients discharged from hospital in March has resulted in the deaths of thousands
“ Ultimately, we want an apology and we don’t want it buried and hidden and forgotten, ” one of the organizers, Daniel Arbeeny, 57, told the New York Post.
“Thousands and thousands of people died – could not be buried.”
Arbeeny’s 89-year-old father died of the virus after his son removed him from the Cobble Hill facility that was destroyed by COVID-19.
Norman Arbeeny had “a number of different illnesses,” his son told the Post.
He was hospitalized in the spring and then transferred to Cobble Hill Health Center for rehabilitation.
After several days in the facility, he was sent home.
“Ultimately, we want an apology and we don’t want it buried and hidden and forgotten,” Arbeeny said. He is seen next to his daughter Salina, who is holding a photo of Norman Arbeeny, 89
While at home, Norman took a coronavirus test and was found to be positive. He died 12 hours later.
But the official death certificate indicates that he died of heart disease, the Post reported, citing a local funeral home director.
Norman Arbeeny was thus not counted in official statistics as a COVID-19 fatality.
Three other family members of Arbeeny – all nursing home patients – also died of the virus.
Arbeeny thinks his father contracted the virus in hospital.
“My father was neglected in the hospital because they didn’t have enough staff,” he said.
He was sent to the nursing home in Cobble Hill, which simply did not have the resources to treat him, he said.
Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for the governor, said: “ We mourn every family that someone has lost during this pandemic and hope they will see past the misinformation and outright lies devised by right-wing agitators and their allies who are taking cover for many, many federal government failures.
“The fact remains that every state across the country is struggling to protect nursing home patients and address the root cause of infections – asymptomatic staffers who are bringing in the virus through no fault of their own.”
At the height of the pandemic in late March, more than 4,300 convalescent coronavirus patients were sent to New York’s already fragile nursing homes.
The state directive, which stated that nursing homes could not refuse to accept patients from hospitals diagnosed with COVID-19, was issued on March 25.
Cuomo’s book entitled American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic was released Tuesday. Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean (left), whose elderly in-laws died of the virus, on Tuesday criticized Democratic governor over the timing of his book
It was eventually demolished amid widespread criticism that it accelerated the country’s deadliest outbreak as patients entered the homes and infected more residents, ultimately leading to more than 5,800 deaths in adult nursing and care centers in New York.
Cuomo, the policy’s main proponent, who had previously called nursing homes “ the optimal breeding ground for this virus, ” reversed the guideline that aimed to free hospital beds for sick patients as the number of cases increased.
But he has continued to defend it, saying he did not believe it contributed to the more than 6,500 deaths in New York – more than any other state – and that houses should have come forward if it was a problem.
Arbeeny said he rented a hearse with a casket containing 6,500 torn pages from Cuomo’s recently published book, American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Each torn page shows a nursing home patient who has died from COVID-19.
Arbeeny said he was inspired to have a fake funeral after he was on a beach in Queens and saw a small plane flying with a banner that read “THE GOV KILLED NANA.”
‘I was with my girls in Riis Park. I almost hit the ground, ”he said.
“I thought it was brilliant.”
“That inspired us to say, ‘Okay, we have to do this,’ because it’s being swept under the rug and the governor doesn’t take any responsibility for it. It’s time.
Arbeeny said he rented a hearse with a casket containing 6,500 torn pages from Cuomo’s newly released book, American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic
“There are thousands and thousands of families.”
Earlier this week, Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean, whose elderly in-laws died of the virus, criticized Cuomo over the timing of his book.
“I don’t know of a governor in the midst of a pandemic who should release a book, especially this one,” Dean told Fox & Friends.
“I have to tell you that it only makes our grief worse to see him promote a book like this and avoid the questions when asked.”
A recent AP study found that the death toll of nursing home patients in the state, which is already among the highest in the country, could be significantly higher than reported.
Unlike any other state with major outbreaks, only New York explicitly states that it only counts residents who died on the grounds of nursing homes and not those who were transported to hospitals and died there.
So far, Cuomo’s government has refused to release the song. The governor says criticism of the deaths in nursing homes is politically motivated.
In his book, Cuomo blamed Republicans and some media outlets for the controversy surrounding the nursing home issue.
“The most painful aspect of the COVID crisis is its devastating effect on our elderly in nursing homes,” he wrote.
In the early spring, Republicans needed an insult to distract from the story of their failed federal response – and they desperately needed it.
So they decided to attack Democratic governors and blame them on nursing homes.
On April 25, conservative columnist Michael Goodwin published a piece in Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post focusing on New York with the headline “ State lacked common sense in nursing homes’ coronavirus approach. It was an orchestrated strategy and drumbeat from Fox News.
‘It wasn’t just me. Phil Murphy in New Jersey, Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan, Gavin Newsom in California, and Tom Wolf in Pennsylvania were all in the Republican crosshairs in nursing homes. Since the states with the most deaths were Democratic states, the Trump forces saw us as an easy target. ‘