Donna Johnson, sister-in-law of Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean, who lost her parents to COVID-19 after they were exposed in assisted living facilities in New York, stressed Tuesday that people don’t go to the nursing homes to die for.
“Our governor appears on television and says such ridiculous things,” Johnson told “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday. “I think the last thing that makes me so sad is that when he talks about nursing home patients, he acts like you go to a nursing home and die, big deal.”
“You don’t go to a nursing home and you die. They are people’s homes,” he emphasized, noting that some of the assisted living facilities are rehabilitation centers and there are people of all ages.
Last month, the Washington Post reported that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “Look, if a person died in a hospital or a nursing home, it’s … people died.”
“People died. “I was in a hospital, they transferred me to a nursing home and my father died.” “My father was in a nursing home, he was transferred to a hospital, my father died.” People died, “he reportedly continued.
“But who cares? 33 [percent]. 28 [percent]. He died in a hospital. They died in a nursing home, “Cuomo added, according to the Post.” They died. “
Johnson told host Brian Kilmeade that about a year ago, the rehab center at his father’s nursing home in New York was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. She noted that her mother was in a separate assisted living facility nearby and the plan was for her father to “get a little healthier and join my mother in assisted living.”
Johnson said his brother got a call one afternoon that his father was not feeling well.
“I don’t think the call led us to believe that he was in serious danger and only hours later he received the next call that my dad had passed away,” he said.
“Having COVID didn’t even cross our minds and we found out that my father had COVID when the funeral director received the death certificate.”
Johnson also noted that soon after, his mother began to feel unwell and about a week later she was taken to the hospital where she tested positive for COVID-19 and “got progressively worse.” Johnson said his mother died in the hospital.
“The last words my mother said to me was, ‘Donna, I’m scared,'” Johnson said.
“I would like to ask Governor Cuomo how he would feel if he had to live every day with his mother’s last words, ‘Andrew, I’m scared.’
A spokesperson for Cuomo did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
On Monday, Cuomo declined to say whether he or any member of his office had been subpoenaed in connection with ongoing investigations into how the administration handled nursing home care during the pandemic.
When asked during a conference call about possible subpoenas, Cuomo said his office has been complying with a query since August and will continue to do so. However, he did not address the subpoena issue directly.
Cuomo’s office has come under increasing scrutiny about how it handled nursing home patient care and how it reported patient deaths, including intentionally insufficient deaths out of fear that the disclosure of the information could have been used in against management, as suggested by one assistant.
A report released by New York Attorney General Letitia James late last month revealed that total nursing home deaths in the state were higher than previously expected, underestimated by as much as 55%.
The Health Department revealed shortly after James’s report was released that another 3,829 residents died after being transferred to hospitals, representing about 40% more deaths than previously counted. At least 12,743 long-term care residents have died from the virus as of January 19.
New data released this month raised those numbers to at least 14,100.
Republicans in the state legislature moved forward Monday in an effort to strip Cuomo of his emergency authority during the pandemic. State Democrats moved forward in an effort to formally censure Cuomo, which would serve as a public rebuke for his actions.
Johnson noted Tuesday that he has several questions for the governor.
“I would like to know why you didn’t use the tools that President Trump gave you,” Johnson said. “He asked for the boat. He had the boat. It was empty there. He had the Javits Center, it was empty there.”
He also noted that where it is located on Long Island, makeshift hospitals were located in parking lots.
“Why didn’t you use these facilities? I just want to know why. What made you sign this mandate to send COVID-infected patients to facilities that were not equipped?” she went on to ask.
Johnson also noted that he stopped by the rehabilitation center his father lived in on Long Island every day during the lockdown to drop off the newspaper and saw employees “with garbage bags,” noting that they were not equipped to handle the pandemic. .
“What kind of PPE [personal protective equipment] Is that? Johnson asked.
A Cuomo spokesman also did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for answers to Johnson’s questions.
Johnson said Tuesday that she is “proud” of her sister-in-law Janice Dean for being the voice of families who have lost family members living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
“I’m so sure my parents are very proud of her,” Johnson told Kilmeade. “My parents weren’t the type of people who would want their face to appear on television and would not want to attract attention, but on the other hand, my dad always taught us to stand up for ourselves and stand our ground for people who can’t defend themselves.”
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“I know how proud my parents are looking at her and smiling at her.” “We will be eternally grateful.”
Brittany De Lea of Fox News contributed to this report.