by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Coronavirus outbreaks in nursing homes have been particularly deadly in California, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.
You could make a strong argument that the country’s deadly coronavirus problem is largely a nursing home problem, dangerous everywhere but far more prevalent in a half-dozen or so of the country’s more heavily and densely populated states. What’s more, many of these states enacted coronavirus response policies that likely put nursing and assisted-living home residents at higher risk for infection.
Notice the California policy described by the San Jose Mercury News:
Even as senior care centers have been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus — with patient and staff deaths accounting for nearly 40 percent of all COVID-19 deaths across California — the state is calling on assisted living facilities to house infected patients in exchange for money. …
… Right now, a lot of people really want to believe that as bad as the coronavirus outbreak is, the consequences have been mitigated by good decisions made by governors like Gavin Newsom, J. D. Pritzker, Gretchen Whitmer, Tom Wolf, Phil Murphy, and Andrew Cuomo. But those governors, whatever their other strengths, all presided over state governments that served their nursing homes and assisted living facilities poorly — either through an inability to provide protective equipment (Illinois), insufficient attention (Pennsylvania), or by sending recovering but still contagious patients back into buildings with lots of other vulnerable elderly (California, Michigan, New Jersey, and New York).
The national media have paid copious amounts of attention to the risk of spreading the coronavirus in places like the beaches of Florida. … A refocus of the national media’s attention and criticism upon the nursing homes in states like California, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York is long overdue.
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