Greenfield: 3 Out of 5 Deadliest Coronavirus Outbreaks Were in State Nursing Homes
The lockdown model sought to flatten the curve by preparing hospitals for a massive influx of patients by clearing out everyone including elderly patients, who were sent back to nursing homes. The hospitals, with a few limited exceptions, were not overwhelmed, but the nursing homes were.
1 in 3 coronavirus deaths, as of now, have involved nursing homes. These deaths were amplified by policies in blue states, especially New York and New Jersey, compelling facilities to take coronavirus patients, while concealing the number of deaths at facilities behind false claims of resident privacy.
Blue state administrations have tried to blame the thousands of deaths on mismanaged private nursing homes, and while some nursing homes are badly run, the worst death tolls were in state nursing homes.
The 5 deadliest outbreaks in nursing homes took place in New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. Three of those facilities, the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts, the Paramus Veterans Memorial Home, and Veterans Memorial Home in Menlo Park in New Jersey, are state run facilities.
New Jersey’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs runs 3 homes for veterans. 2 of them had major deadly outbreaks. As of now, the Paramus home had 72 deaths and the Menlo Park facility had 55 deaths. But the third, Vineland Veterans Memorial Home, had recorded only one death.
Paramus has 211 residents and 189 cases which means that nearly all of the residents are infected. The Menlo Park facility has 167 cases in a 190-resident facility with an equally bad infection rate. The latter facility had repeatedly come to the attention of federal inspectors who cited it for not following infection-control procedures and its health violations rate was four times the state average.
Its Medicare rating was ‘Below Average” and its health inspections rating was ‘Much Below Average’. The Paramus veterans home was also poorly rated. The Vineland home, by contrast, was highly rated.
State officials had apparently lied about staff not coming down with the virus, workers were told not to wear protective equipment, and the Paramus facility wasn’t following CDC disinfection guidelines. At Menlo Park, the family of a Vietnam veteran complained that he was wrongly placed with coronavirus patients leading to his death, and family members of other deceased residents reported facility failures.
Garden State nursing homes have been ground zero for some of the worst outbreaks in the country, but even among them, the homes run by New Jersey have been the worst. Had a Republican been in charge of the state, instead of a Wall Street donor to the Obama campaign, the media might have noticed that.
When Governor Murphy was asked who was currently running the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, he replied, “There’s an acting person who came in from under him. I don’t know that name.”
Murphy didn’t know because, his political appointee had resigned in the middle of the pandemic to run for Congress, infuriated that some members of the New Jersey delegation, one of whom had a brother-in-law at one of the facilities, had called for a federal investigation into the breakdown.
The former department boss claimed that he had resigned so as not “embarrass Gov. Murphy by running against a candidate [he] supports.”
Despite the pretense that blue state politicos cared about veterans or nursing homes, Murphy had no clue who was in charge of veterans affairs or the facilities that had 2 of the 3 deadliest nursing home outbreaks in the state. And he made it quite clear that he really didn’t care.
In Massachusetts, the outbreak at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke with 74 deaths was by far the worst in the state where other facilities had an average of 10 deaths. Holyoke is one of only two state run facilities for veterans, the other being the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home where the death toll is up to 28.
In New Jersey, two out of three state homes for veterans had major outbreaks with massive death tolls, and in Massachusetts, it was one out of two. Statistics like these tell their own story about socialized medicine.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division are investigating the Holyoke facility, and Governor Baker has brought in Mark Pearlstein, a former DA, to conduct an independent investigation on behalf of Massachusetts.
The spectacle of dead veterans and investigations of facilities meant to serve them is not a new one. It is all too likely that what happened at state facilities is exactly what had been happening at the VA with an entrenched bureaucracy running the system for its own benefit, not for those whom it’s meant to serve. The investigations will turn up local mismanagement and recommend more funding. As they usually do.
The VA, which helps funds the state homes, has claimed that it conducted inspections and that the facilities met its standards even as, some like the Paramus facility, were receiving poor Medicare grades.
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, Governor Murphy’s lackey, launched an investigation meant to focus on private nursing homes, a point he made clear when he threw around rhetoric about, “profits over patients.” While there may be some truth to that, it’s New Jersey’s state-run homes which were some of the worst killing fields in the state. And any reckoning ought to begin with the state officials responsible.
The death tolls in nursing homes are already being used to push for more socialized medicine, but it was state medicine that was responsible for the deadliest outbreaks in nursing homes in America.
The VA scandals of the Obama administration, which may have claimed the lives of as many as 1,000 veterans, were swept under the rug, and Senator Bernie Sanders, who had tried to cover up the deaths as chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, rebounded with a push for socialized medicine.
After all this time, socialized medicine is still killing veterans.
The deaths of hundreds of veterans in state-run facilities in blue states will be covered up the same way, but they must not, cannot, and should not be forgotten. The deaths of thousands of nursing home residents are an outrage. And blue state governors in New York, New Jersey, and California, among others, should be held accountable for putting lockdown politics ahead of saving the lives of seniors.
Our nation owes a particular debt to the veterans who were left to die in Paramus, Menlo Park, and Holyoke. We should remember their names and honor the debt by telling the truth about their deaths.
Many of them defended our country by fighting socialist regimes in Korea and Vietnam. Their deaths should not be exploited to promote the big lie that socialized medicine is the answer.
Socialized medicine is not the answer unless the question is, “How do we kill more senior citizens?”
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