LANCASTER, N.Y. (WIVB)–Western New Yorkers have responded angrily to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s comments that the region may be suffering less than New York City and Long Island, from Covid-19.
During a Wednesday afternoon media briefing in Albany, the governor referred to the low number of Covid-19 cases in Western New York compared to New York City and Long Island, “Western New York never felt that same level of reality.”
Cuomo went even further when comparing the virus’s deadly toll in Western New York which is in the hundreds to the toll in Downstate New York which has been one of the highest in the country.
“Western New York read about New York City, they read about Long Island, they watched it on the TV news, but the numbers were never as bad in Western New York.”
After listening to Cuomo’s remarks on television Maureen Rivera, whose husband José died from Covid-19 complications in April, took to Facebook angrily “Of course I started crying and my daughter is like, ‘what’s the matter?’ I said, I can’t believe the governor just said that.”
Rivera, a decorated Navy veteran, spent his last three weeks in a coma, and the Lancaster widow regrets she could not be there to hold his hand when his ventilator was removed.
“The hardest part of my day still is driving home from work knowing that you are going home to an empty house.”
But Maureen was hurt most when the governor seemed to minimize Western New Yorkers’ pain from the deadly virus when he said, “Western New York never lived the full pain of a Covid’s wrath.”
How much worse, Maureen wondered aloud, would the governor wish for her, and the nearly one thousand other families of Covid-19 victims in Western New York, to suffer, as she did with José?
“When I was holding his hand I was not really feeling his hand and I was able to say goodbye,” shortly before Maureen told staff at the St. Joseph Campus of Sisters Hospital to disconnect her husband’s life support.
While it has been 7 months since José passed away, Maureen Rivera says, she still misses him every single day.