News & Politics

California's COVID Nursing Home Death Rate 'Cover Up' Is Imploding

A care worker takes care to residents of the Maharin nursing home of Anglet, southwestern France, Tuesday, Jan.30, 2018. French care workers are protesting at nursing homes around the country in anger over staff shortages and cost cuts. Unions say workers are under increasing pressure to cut corners on feeding, cleaning and hygiene care for elderly residents. (AP Photo/Bob Edme)

The COVID nursing home death rate in California may be even worse than we feared due to “collu[sion]” to cover-up the numbers.

The first wave of COVID-19 in the United States may well go down as a pandemic in nursing homes. The New York Times reports that fully 1/3 of the deaths from COVID-19 took place in the nation’s nursing homes. In California, it’s worse. It’s believed 41% of all COVID-19 deaths are tied to nursing homes.

We’re just now getting a clearer idea of how bad the coronavirus has riven those homes in California. Untold thousands of people have died in nursing homes from the coronavirus imported from Wuhan, China, but because of California’s privacy laws and reporting protocols and more pointed questions to county and state officials, we are only now beginning to get an idea.

The San Jose Mercury News calls the lack of accurate numbers a “shameful” “cover-up.”

Californians should know which care facilities have novel coronavirus cases, how many and how many deaths, and whether the victims are staff or residents. This is fundamental information that should be disclosed under the California Public Records Act.

Instead, the counties and the state are colluding in a cover-up. The counties refuse to turn over the information and direct inquiries to the state. The state, in turn, puts out the minimal, inaccurate lists. It’s shameful.

Nursing Home Deaths Are ‘Tip of Spear’

Indeed, Governor Gavin Newsom is feeling the heat. On Tuesday’s coronavirus update (which have become less regular), the governor admitted that 33% of the COVID deaths are from nursing homes and 50% of all COVID deaths are from LA County.

This is tip of spear. I’ve made the point to make a point about our seniors 65 and over. 79.2% again those deaths are reflected in that age cohort and the vulnerability particularly in these congregant facilities and assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities is self evident. Particularly in Los Angeles. Out of Los Angeles in particular we are seeing roughly – and the numbers have changed in the past few days – roughly 55-56% of the deaths in the state come out of that county and roughly 2/3 of those deaths coming out of this sector in the skilled nursing, assisted living sector…

But while Governor Newsom has been given credit for shutting down the virus early, it’s Newsom’s own diktats about nursing homes that may have contributed to the death toll.

The Mercury News reports that Newsom forced nursing homes to take COVID patients, reminiscent of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s blunder.

Newsom Sends Sick to Nursing Homes

It has become crystal clear by now that nursing homes are COVID hotspots, yet the governor’s own shelter requirement keeps pushing the elderly into what some consider to be death traps. The Mercury News reports that by using the state’s own incomplete numbers ,41% of all COVID deaths have occurred in nursing homes. Some were staff and some were patients.

Official diktats have made the problem worse.

  • Newsom orders force the elderly sick into nursing homes
  • Newsom pays nursing homes $1000 to take elderly COVID patients in nursing homes
  • Accurate numbers aren’t available in California. HIPAA is the reason given, but considering that raw numbers don’t reveal names, that seems specious.
  • Newsom budget cuts force more elderly into nursing homes for more Medicaid money
  • California, Michigan, Ohio, and Washington State, where the nursing home crisis started, do not separately cull nursing home death numbers
  • Newsom only requires nursing homes report if there are 11 deaths at a facility.
  • Accurate numbers for nursing home deaths are hidden behind privacy statutes and are not combined with state numbers for an accurate real-time trend line
  • COVID death numbers are unavailable for people seeking a safe place for family member

The unintended consequences of forcing the sick and elderly into nursing homes by the government have been deadly.

We’ve heard plenty about Governor Andrew Cuomo’s botched COVID nursing home response. It turns out that California’s might be as bad.

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