The number of deaths from coronavirus in nursing homes and long-term care facilities among older populations has far exceeded the numbers of either infections or deaths within the public at large. The elderly have experienced the burden of this illness more than any other segment, yet governors are still laying the blame for their state’s failure of the aging than taking on that responsibility themselves.
New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, who in late March issued a directive stating that elderly persons who were released from the hospital after recovering from the coronavirus should be returned to nursing homes for further rehabilitation, does not take the blame for nursing home deaths upon himself, but blames Donald Trump.
This came as congressional Republicans floated the idea of launching a federal probe into New York's coronavirus nursing home crisis. Cuomo says he was only following federal guidelines for his state's response. "It's because the state followed President Trump's CDC guidance, so they should ask President Trump," Cuomo said. "I think I think that will stop the conversation." The death toll in New York is nearing 30,000, while there have been over 3,000 nursing home fatalities from the illness, at time of writing.
Cuomo's earlier missive regarding the transfer of patients recovering from coronavirus back to nursing homes stems from this guidance issued by the CDC in March. "A nursing home can accept a resident diagnosed with COVID-19 and still under Transmission- Based Precautions for COVID-19 as long as the facility can follow CDC guidance for Transmission-Based Precautions. If a nursing home cannot, it must wait until these precautions are discontinued." This differs from Cuomo's guidance.
Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolfe, whose health secretary Rachel Levine cares more about being misgendered than answering for the excessive fatalities among nursing home residents in that state, has overseen an infection rate of which over 50 percent are in old folks homes. Of 68,151 total cases in Pennsylvania, and 4,822 deaths, 2,786 were in nursing homes, at the time of writing.
Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who has seen substantial pushback against the lockdown restrictions she imposed on that state, also issued a mid-April executive order stating the state's nursing homes should accept coronavirus patients. This jeopardized other residents in those home, and contributed to the high rate of fatalities in that state, about one-third of which were in Michigan’s nursing homes.
Florida’s Governor DeSantis cut off Florida’s nursing homes from visitors in mid-March, without shutting down the rest of the state. In fact, pretty much everyone made fun of Florida for allowing spring breakers to keep partying on Daytona Beach and other Floridian fun spots. But now that state is considering reopening nursing homes, and they have not seen a massive toll on their senior population. This despite the fact that Florida has an aging population and is a top destination for American retirees seeking warm climes. Desantis has had strong words for other localities.
Nursing home deaths in the US account for one third of the total number of deaths. Governor’s that have engaged in lockdowns and enforced quarantines and business closures for all of their residents have sorely neglected their nursing home populations. If these numbers had been looked at sooner, and the reality been made known that it was this vulnerable population that would be most affected by the disease, perhaps both the death count at nursing homes could have been lower, and the horrifying deleterious impacts of these insane economic closures could have been prevented.