MORRIS COUNTY — Senator Joe Pennacchio again implored the legislature to act on behalf of more than 6,700 elderly nursing home residents who lost their lives to COVID-19 and vote to create a Senate Select Committee to review the State’s response to the pandemic.
“The deplorable treatment of vulnerable seniors who were isolated, abandoned and exposed to this deadly virus was a pandemic genocide that stripped the lives of almost 7,000 fragile souls trapped in long term care facilities,” Pennacchio said. “Now, this shocking nightmare is being compounded by apathy. These innocent victims have been being deserted by the legislature and forgotten by the press. Doesn’t anybody care what happened to these victims?”
Since early May, Pennacchio has been advocating for a Senate Select Committee to investigate the Executive Branch’s handling of the health crisis and the decisions that placed so many fragile residents at risk in under-staffed and unprepared facilities.
“Every week that passes makes it more difficult to uncover the truth so we can take steps to prevent the occurrence of a similar atrocity in the future,” Pennacchio said. “The situation demands a retrospective and real-time investigation, with subpoena power to compel the testimony of witnesses, so we can fully comprehend the systemic failures that contributed to unthinkable carnage among the fragile population that needs and deserves our protection.”
Pennacchio noted that the Administration has warned that the pandemic, now slowed, could exhilarate in a dangerous second wave.
“It is all the more reason to immediately address the procedures and decisions to make sure it’s not happening again in our nursing homes,” said the Senator. “We don’t want a deadly repeat.”