FILE PHOTO: Lori Spencer visits her mom Judie Shape, 81, who Spencer says has tested positive for coronavirus, at Life Care Center of Kirkland, the Seattle-area nursing home at the epicenter of one of the biggest coronavirus outbreaks in the United States, in Kirkland, Washington, U.S. March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Redmond/File Photo

High rates of coronavirus deaths are shining a spotlight on nursing homes in Europe and the United States. Advocates allege that governments sacrificed elderly residents in an effort to relieve overcrowded hospitals.

Deaths in nursing homes account for 50 percent or more of all coronavirus-related deaths in Norway, Ireland, Belgium and France. In Britain, care workers blame the government’s slow response on residential care needs and initial guidance that the elderly were “very unlikely” to contract the virus as reasons for the higher death toll. A care facility on one Scottish Isle that saw nearly every resident get sick and a quarter die is under investigation for a possible breach of human rights.

In Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine has mandated the testing of all nursing home residents following criticism from advocates who said that low staffing, slow response to infection control, and even the residential buildings created a high-risk environment for residents. California has similarly mandated testing in all of the state’s nursing homes, while four nursing homes in Minnesota were cited for “serious infection control violations.”

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

The Most Important COVID-19 Statistic: 43% Of U.S. Deaths Are From 0.6% Of The Population – Forbes – 5/25/2020 The tragedy is that it didn’t have to be this way. On March 17, as the pandemic was just beginning to accelerate, Stanford epidemiologist John Ioannidis warned that “even some so-called mild or common-cold-type coronaviruses have been known for decades [to] have case fatality rates as high as 8% when they infect people in nursing homes.” Ioannidis was ignored.

Cuomo gave immunity to nursing home executives after big campaign donations – The Guardian – 5/26/2020 Less than two years after that flood of cash from the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA), Cuomo signed legislation last month quietly shielding hospital and nursing home executives from the threat of lawsuits stemming from the coronavirus outbreak. The provision, inserted into an annual budget bill by Cuomo’s aides, created one of the nation’s most explicit immunity protections for healthcare industry officials, according to legal experts.

Isolated in nursing homes, elderly Americans grieve, adapt — and hope – Washington Post – 5/28/2020 A 91-year-old man in a North Carolina nursing home calls his wife four times a day just to hear her voice. At a New Jersey facility where 285 staff and residents have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, a Navy veteran says the pandemic is worse than war.

5 ways to prevent another 100,000 coronavirus deaths in the US (and beyond) – Vox – 5/26/2020 Nursing homes need to find the virus fast with rapid and repeated testing, and they need to stop outbreaks before they spread widely with rapid-response teams and test-based strategies.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Tammy Bruce on Twitter, 5/28/2020: Disgusting, craven and heartless. Exactly the same attitude that allows forcing nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients leading to 1000s of deaths.… https://t.co/9SAwstvMIT

ARP on Twitter, 5/28/2020: The coronavirus outbreak has put a significant strain on our nation’s nursing homes. Here, Rodney shares his frustration about the lack of transparency at his mother’s facility. Learn more: 

Jake Coco on Twitter, 5/28/2020: 42% of all COVID-19 deaths are taking place in facilities that house 0.62% of the U.S. population (Nursing Homes) At what point should this be reclassified as murder? At what point is ignorance no longer a valid excuse? #QAnon #Q #WWG1WGA #WWG1WGAWORLDWIDE

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