On Sunday, grieving family members, surrounded by supporters, gathered in front of the Cobble Hill Health Center to demand an apology from Governor Cuomo on behalf of loved ones lost due to his March Nursing Home Advisory. The event, a funeral for the Governor’s leadership and integrity, featured a hearse and a coffin filled with copies of the Governor’s new book, written during the height of the pandemic in New York, when 32,935 New Yorkers died of COVID-19.

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Peter Arbeeny, a lifelong Democrat, whose beloved father Norman Arbeeny was a casualty of the Cuomo Nursing Home Order said, “Our father was a beloved member of our community, sorely missed by many. We lost him needlessly because of Governor Cuomo’s nursing home directive. And now to learn that the Governor was writing a book while our loved ones were dying senselessly and our friends, family and neighbors were losing everything because of unscientific government decisions, is a gut punch to New Yorkers suffering through this crisis. Our grieving families need humility, not deflection. We need empathy, not ego. And we need accountability and an apology, not a book on ‘leadership.’”

Daniel Arbeeny said, “Today’s event was personally driven to honor loved ones, not a political stunt. We would like Governor Cuomo to take responsibility and to apologize for his shameless behavior in making COVID-19 a political issue, rather than doing what was best and safest for our loved ones. The nursing homes’ heroic staff and facilities were just as much victims as our families because of the Governor’s failed order to send COVID positive patients back into nursing homes. We still have no transparency from this administration on the true number of those who died because of the disastrous nursing home decision. Where is the accountability?”
On October 13th, Governor Cuomo released his book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.” While he was writing this book, during the height of a global health crisis, of which New York was ground zero, New Yorkers were not allowed to honor loved ones with funerals, ceremonies or mercy meals. As the Governor admitted just this week, the lockdowns in New York are not based on any science or medical expertise, but rather are a “fear-based response.” Now, thousands of families are left heartbroken by his unscientific decisions.
While today’s event is not political, the Governor’s communications and responses regarding this issue have been:
These nakedly political statements in response to fair appropriate questions about his order beg even more questions, and the media should follow up with the Governor’s office directly:
  • Out of the 600 state nursing homes how many are equipped to deal with a highly contagious airborne virus?
  • Did the staff have the proper hazmat suits?
  • Do the facilities have the proper negative pressure rooms, HEPA filtration systems throughout, proper outside ventilation, proper HVAC systems, and UV lights in each patient room?
  • Considering the industry is one of the most heavily regulated in New York State, how many past state directives have nursing homes disregarded?
The obvious answer is none, but the Governor refuses to acknowledge reality and take responsibility. Since the beginning days of the pandemic in early March, health professionals and scientists around the world agreed that if you are over age 60 and have underlying conditions, COVID-19 can be deadly. That is the exact demographics of 95% of the patients that are in nursing homes, but this is not true for the hospital’s patient demographics.
The Arbeeny family continued, “COVID knows no political party, race, gender, or religion but COVID clearly understood your written directive sending it back into nursing homes filled with patients over 60 years old and all with underlying conditions. Regrettably, this directive created the birth of a new political party called the “COVID ORPHANS.
“This book is the epitome of Governor Cuomo’s personality – egocentric, callous, and irresponsible. The COVID-19 Pandemic and its aftermath is far from over, yet Governor Cuomo had the time to write this premature book. Our loved ones did not have to die, but the reckless order that Governor Cuomo mandated failed our most vulnerable population by forcing COVID-19 positive patients back into nursing homes. Now, thousands of families are left heartbroken by his unscientific decision, and were unable to honor loved ones with funerals, ceremonies, and mercy meals.”
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