Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s book about his handling of the coronavirus pandemic makes the grief of those who lost loved ones to COVID-19 “worse,” Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean, who lost her elderly in-laws to the virus, said on Tuesday.
Dean made the comment on the same day Cuomo’s book titled, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic” hit shelves.
“I don't know any governor in the middle of a pandemic that should release a book, especially this one,” Dean told “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday. “I have to tell you it just makes our grief worse to see him promoting a book like this and dodging the questions when he's being asked.”
Cuomo is regularly blamed for thousands of deaths in New York’s nursing homes after his controversial policy in late March essentially ordered nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients from hospitals, a measure designed to free up hospital beds. Cuomo eventually reversed the order in May and has been widely criticized for the way the situation was handled.
As a result, many on social media were shocked when news broke in August that Cuomo wrote a book about his experience overseeing New York amid the pandemic. Hours after the book was announced, President Trump scolded Cuomo in response to the governor's speech at the Democratic National Convention criticizing the White House's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Now AP estimates that the real Cuomo number of people killed because of his total incompetence is 11,000, not the 6000 that was originally thought!" Trump tweeted.
The state has officially reported a nursing home death toll of more than 6,600. Dean finally got to testify before New York state lawmakers on nursing home deaths in August after she was previously denied the opportunity.
Dean told “Fox & Friends” in August that Cuomo is not providing the exact numbers of those who died from COVID-19 in adult care facilities because “New York State does not count the numbers that we lost in hospitals from nursing homes.”
“We need those numbers to move forward and help change the laws,” Dean said in August. “We need an independent bipartisan investigation that involves subpoena power so we can get the health commissioner on the hot seat and ask questions and get truthful answers.”
On Tuesday Dean pointed out that “we still don't have the total number of patients that died from COVID that were in nursing homes.”
Dean said her calls for an investigation “unfortunately” have not gotten anywhere.
Dean went on to say, “If [Cuomo] is not guilty, why wouldn’t he encourage a bipartisan investigation into what happened in the nursing homes?”
“I continue to try to spread the message and speak for those who don't have voices and I will continue to do so,” she added.
Dean said she was traveling to Albany, N.Y., on Wednesday “to speak on behalf of all the people that have loved ones in nursing homes and they haven't seen them for seven months because of the governor's restrictions.”
Host Steve Doocy noted that since the book was released on Tuesday and they haven’t seen it, “we don't know whether or not he does address” the nursing home death situation in it.
Unlike other states with major outbreaks, New York only counts residents who died on nursing home property, not individuals who were transported to hospitals and died there, according to the Associated Press. The discrepancy could add thousands of individuals to the state's nursing home death toll.
The Cuomo administration has refused to release the number, leading to speculation the state is intentionally manipulating the figures.
Cuomo did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. His payment for “American Crisis” was not disclosed.
On Tuesday, Dean also blamed the mainstream media for not holding Cuomo accountable for nursing home deaths during the pandemic, saying barely anyone asked him about it.
“It's also the fault of the mainstream media that won't ask him the questions and get the tough answers,” Dean said.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman, Brian Flood and The Associated Press contributed to this report.