My title is a paraphrase of the first line from Daniel Greenfield's important article:
Blue states lied: thousands of nursing home patients died.
Sitting here in my bucolic blue state suburb, I was noticing that the case count and deaths for my town were continuing to climb. My wife and I kept asking each other: Who are these people? Finally it dawned on us--these had to be inmates of nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Greenfield's article confirms that nationwide, just days after the state was forced to provide the data for our area that confirmed exactly what my wife and I had suspected. While playgrounds are being shut down and the city is enacting stricter mask ordinances, the real risk is at the nursing homes. And the same holds true for suburb after suburb in our area.
And here's the kicker.
As we see case counts continuing to climb in the most affected states--largely blue states--we can be pretty sure that those cases will be disproportionately among seniors in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The numbers that we've seen thus far aren't lying in that respect. And we know that that will translate to lots more deaths. Those deaths will be occurring disproportionately among a demographic that was known to be at high risk but was not protected, while large segments of the population who were at least arguably not at great risk were bullied and scared into measures that may not have been appropriately targeted for the population at large.
To be clear, I don't want to fall into the trap of equating "risk" with risk of death. We know that this virus--unlike the flu or other coronaviruses like the common cold--can have long term health effects for those who recover. For those who require treatment, the burden on healthcare is also significantly higher that for the flu. I can also understand that public officials fear that unless drastic measures are required, more targeted measures may not be followed. Or that if the fact that this pandemic may only play out over several years, with relatively "low" rates of infection, public resolve will flag. Nevertheless, this lack of transparency in a democracy is egregious. It's also bound to be a big mistake. People ultimately need to be treated as adults and allowed to provide input into the momentous decisions that have been made largely by fiat up to this point.
With that off my chest, take a look at what Greenfield is reporting:
Blue states lied: thousands of nursing home patients died.
Over 7,000 of the country’s coronavirus deaths emerged out of nursing homes.
Of the 4,377 coronavirus deaths in New Jersey, over 1,700 died due to infections in nursing homes. That nearly 40% of coronavirus deaths in one of the hardest hit states took place in nursing homes casts a stark light on the misplaced priorities of blue states battling the pandemic by locking down houses of worship and small businesses, while putting few to no resources into protecting nursing home residents.
In neighboring New York, nearly 1 in 4 coronavirus deaths emerged from nursing homes. Those 3,060 deaths are only part of the story and represent an extremely incomplete picture. The Health Department had battled against releasing the information, claiming that it was protecting the privacy of residents.
Why were New York authorities so reluctant to release the information? Even the partial data makes it all too clear that the severity of the death toll was not due to urban density, but poor oversight and response. If urban density were the issue, Manhattan would have some of the highest numbers. Instead it has among the lowest, while boroughs with sizable nursing homes have the highest numbers.
In Connecticut, 40% of coronavirus fatalities emerged from nursing homes.
In Virginia, the majority of the coronavirus outbreaks have taken place in nursing homes. Like New York, Virginia’s Department of Health is refusing to release the names of the facilities with outbreaks.
Governor Ralph Northam's administration is continuing to engage in the cover-up even as a quarter of the population in one facility died of the coronavirus. That outbreak was the deadliest in America.
In Illinois, Governor Pritzker's administration had fought against providing the numbers of deaths and the identity of the nursing homes with outbreaks by claiming that it was protecting the privacy of residents, but finally began putting out some numbers about coronavirus deaths in nursing homes.
1 in 4 coronavirus deaths in Cook County, an area which includes Chicago, took place in nursing homes.
In Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer's administration also refused to release the names of infected facilities. What information reporters have put together indicates that over a third of coronavirus deaths in Wayne County took place in nursing homes. Every nursing home in Detroit is infected.
In California, 29% of the deaths in Los Angeles County have taken place in nursing homes. In nearby Long Beach, it’s as high as 72%. In one Central Valley home, 156 residents tested positive and 8 died.
... California, like New York, was forcing care facilities to accept coronavirus patients discharged from hospitals. Newsom, like Cuomo, has blood on his manicured hands.
The ten deadliest outbreaks in this country have taken place in nursing homes and care facilities.
While officials around the country shut down churches and synagogues, arrested people for surfing and playing catch, and sent drones flying over their backyards, little was done to secure the estimated 4,100 nursing homes out of over 15,000 in the country where coronavirus was known to have taken root.
Even though the first coronavirus outbreak in this country took place in a nursing home in Washington, and killed 43 people, the CDC failed to track the spread of the virus to nursing homes nationwide.
Instead, the CDC has been relying on "informal outreach" to track the spread and has not updated its numbers since March.
The Trump administration took an important step by ordering nursing homes to report coronavirus deaths to the CDC, and to the residents and their families. This move puts an end to the state stonewalling that covered up coronavirus cases and their own malfeasance.
It’s the beginning. Not the end.
Coronavirus disproportionately affects the elderly and the ill. Securing nursing home facilities would cost a fraction of the money we have lost by shutting down the economy and passing massive bailouts. And as death tolls remain a major barrier to reopening the economy, saving lives in nursing homes will also save the economy. It’s the right thing to do for our parents, grandparents, and for our country.
Blue state governments lied, deliberately covering up the scale of nursing home deaths, while playing up the pandemic risks and the lockdown. Their decisions killed the weak and the elderly, devastated the economy, and transformed the entire relationship between the people and their governments.
The appeal of imposing social distancing measures on everyone proved irresistible to blue governments even while they neglected to track virus cases in the places where they were most likely to emerge.