What happened in 2020 with COVID in NY nursing homes should be considered a catastrophic event

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On March 25, 2020, Andrew Cuomo, the former governor of New York, signed an order along with his former health commissioner Howard Zucker, that would put a Category 5 disaster into the homes of over 15,000 seniors. 

I believe this document was a death warrant for many of our loved ones. 

None of us knew that over the course of the next 46 days, over 9,000 infected patients would be admitted into the residences where our most vulnerable resided. As the deceased were packed into body bags and piled up in storage trucks, Andrew Cuomo and his administration did everything they could to cover it up.

COVID VICTIMS WHO DIED IN NY NURSING HOMES DESERVE JUSTICE. I WON’T STOP FIGHTING FOR THEM

I began my advocacy in May 2020 on behalf of my husband’s parents who both died of COVID, which they contracted in separate long-term care facilities. 

I needed to find out the truth about why our seniors were put at such grave risk.  Instead of being remorseful or empathetic to our losses, I was attacked by Andrew Cuomo and his team and belittled. 

I was scorned for where I work, whom I might have voted for and what I did for a living; I was just the dumb “weather girl” who knew nothing despite having lost family members to a preventable storm.

NY TIMES PIECE ARGUES ‘INFIGHTING’ BETWEEN CUOMO AND DE BLASIO CONTRIBUTED TO NY’S SLOW COVID RESPONSE

Let me tell you a little bit about my profession. A meteorologist’s primary job is making sure that when there’s a big weather event like a hurricane or a tornado outbreak, you warn those who are potentially at risk. 

Not only do weather forecasters alert residents of incoming hazards, but after the storm is over, we analyze the data to find out how we can do better going forward so that we’re always ahead of the next disaster. 

Andrew Cuomo knew early on that our seniors were the most susceptible to this virus, yet officials didn’t alert family members to help evacuate them. Instead, his administration and the New York State health department put the deadly storm inside their homes.  

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So why doesn’t New York’s current Gov. Kathy Hochul or the current health commissioner want to assess the disaster and try to learn from the previous administration’s mistakes? 

Why were thousands of COVID patients piled into nursing homes instead of the other facilities provided by the federal government like the USS Comfort ship and the Jacob Javits center in New York City? 

Why did Andrew Cuomo give blanket immunity to nursing home operators just days after issuing his death warrant? And why did he try so hard to cover up the thousands of deaths afterwards?

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If you want to help us begin to heal, you need to treat what happened inside nursing homes as a catastrophic event. A situation like this should warrant an after-action review. 

Once you’ve assessed the damage, build it back to withstand another potential storm in the future. Because when the next one comes, do you want to live in a place where our elected officials choose to look away or pretend it never happened? Those 15,000 beautiful souls who died alone without their family around them deserve so better much better than that.

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