Our 89-year-old father, Norman Arbeeny, a lifelong Brooklynite, died at his home from COVID-19 on April 21, 2020, after contracting the virus at a nursing home.
Ever since his passing, we – his proud sons – have been on a quest to seek the truth about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s now infamous March 25, 2020, nursing home advisory. Through that advisory, the governor sent 9,000 COVID-positive hospital patients into nursing homes, where they infected vulnerable residents and staff.
Cuomo has publicly stated that Dr. Anthony Fauci and he conferred on this matter during the early months of the pandemic. Curious to learn whether Fauci had endorsed the governor’s nursing home policy, we submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to uncover any potential written correspondence between Fauci and Cuomo or any of his staff.
HHS promptly replied that no such correspondence exists – or between Fauci and anyone from New York state government – in the early months of the pandemic. Now that Fauci’s emails are public, it is shocking that he never discussed public health policy via email with any governmental official in the ground zero state for the COVID-19 pandemic in America.
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Common sense tells us that nursing homes are the absolute last place that any sensible elected leader should send COVID-positive patients. The governor’s strategy was to make nursing homes the first and only place to send discharged COVID-19 positive hospital patients, and without PPE. This happened even though not one nursing home was properly equipped to handle COVID-19 patients in March of 2020.
Many thousands of grieving families who lost loved ones in nursing homes are seeking the truth about Cuomo’s ill-fated advisory and subsequent cover-up of the true death toll. To this day, New York state fails to acknowledge our father’s death because he died at home a few days after his discharge from the nursing home.
To this day, New York state fails to acknowledge our father’s death because he died at home a few days after his discharge from the nursing home.
Now that Fauci is following in our governor’s footsteps with a book deal of his own, his emails are in the public domain and he continues to officially serve the public, we, and many others like us, would very much appreciate answers regarding the handling of COVID-positive hospital patients discharged to nursing homes in New York.
We pose to Dr. Fauci the following questions:
Did you ever have any discussions with Gov. Cuomo in connection with his March 25, 2020, advisory?
And if so, how did those discussions transpire? (e.g. via email, phone, in-person, fax)
Did you ever have any discussions with Cuomo about the CDC guidelines for sending COVID-positive patients to nursing homes?
Did you ever have any discussions with Cuomo about the Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort or the Javits Center FEMA facility that were designated, at great cost, to help New York respond to the COVID-19 pandemic?
As a scientist do you believe nursing homes were an appropriate destination for COVID-positive patients newly discharged from hospitals in March/April 2020?
Do you believe that the 15,000-plus deaths in New York nursing homes resulted solely from nursing home staff (as Cuomo has publicly claimed) and not at all contributed to by the 9,000 COVID-infected hospital discharges sent there over a six-week period?
In 2021, would you support sending COVID-positive patients into nursing homes again, as New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker has suggested he still believes?
Do you believe publishing false statistics on COVID-related nursing home deaths was the right thing for Cuomo’s administration to do?
Do you agree with the governor when he said nursing homes should not "discriminate" by turning away COVID-positive hospital discharges?
Can protecting our most vulnerable and cherished elderly even be thought of as "discrimination" by any sane or rational person, in your medical opinion?
Do you agree with Cuomo when he states that if the grieving nursing home families are seeking an apology for his March 25, 2020, advisory directing COVID-19 hospital discharges into crowded nursing homes, they should ask the federal government and not him?
Will you apologize on behalf of the federal government for the CDC guidelines to New York’s nursing home COVID orphans?
We, like Dr. Fauci, believe in science and data so we – and many tens of thousands of other COVID orphans – eagerly await his answers.