'Good First Step': New York's Hochul Apologizes to Families of Nursing Home COVID-19 Victims
Governor Kathy Hochul has apologized to the relatives of those who died in nursing homes due to former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s controversial COVID-19 policy at the height of the pandemic.
Hochul met with families of victims and State Representative Ron Kim (D- Brooklyn), in what has been described as a tearful and emotional affair. The group gave the governor a list of demands to right the wrongs of her predecessor.
The group demanded that the state enact elder-care reforms; admit fault in the controversial directive; support an investigation into the nursing home crisis; release all remaining nursing home data; conduct a “re-audit” of all COVID-19-related nursing home deaths; introduce a nursing home victims compensation fund; and create a nursing home victims memorial.
Hochul apologized to the families for the policy and the subsequent dismissal of allegations carried out by former Governor Andrew Cuomo who enacted the policy. Haydee Pabey, who lost her 72-year-old mother Elba Pabey to COVID-19 in a nursing home, said “it was hitting a brick wall with the last administration.”
“It was a good first step for a new governor,” Peter Arbeeny, who lost his father to the novel coronavirus, told the New York Post. “I won’t know what it means yet until we see these promises turned into actions."
At the height of the pandemic, hospitals in New York were extremely overwhelmed, with some facilities going as far as bringing in mobile morgues to store the deceased. To open up space at hospitals, then-Governor Cuomo forced nursing homes to accept COVID-positive patients that were not in critical condition.
The disastrous policy led to widespread COVID-19 outbreaks and death in New York nursing homes. Cuomo, who had earned praise for his handling of the pandemic, instructed his aides to alter pandemic data to misrepresent how many nursing home deaths there had been.
Following a damning sexual misconduct probe into Cuomo, the governor was ousted as New York’s chief executive, leaving his then lieutenant governor - Hochul - to deal with the fallout of his deadly nursing home policy.