COVID-19 transmission appears to be rampant within our health care system in general, not just in nursing homes.
As noted in “20% of COVID Patients Caught Disease at Hospital,” British data suggests 1 in 5 COVID-19 patients actually contracted the disease at the hospital, while being treated for something else.
SARS-CoV-2 is being transmitted not only between patients but also from health care workers to patients. When you add it all together, nursing homes and nosocomial infections (i.e., infections originating in or acquired from a hospital18), plus the spread from workers to family members, likely account for a vast majority of all COVID-19 deaths.
Without doubt, if nursing homes don’t start getting this right, they eventually won’t have enough patients to stay in business. Unfortunately, rather than tackle the problem head-on and implement sensible safety measures across the board, the nursing home industry is instead seeking immunity from COVID-19 related lawsuits. I discussed this in “COVID-19 and Nursing Homes: The No. 1 Place Not to Be.” According to NBC News:19
“So far at least six states have provided explicit immunity from coronavirus lawsuits for nursing homes, and six more have granted some form of immunity to health care providers, which legal experts say could likely be interpreted to include nursing homes …
Of the states that have addressed nursing home liability as a response to the outbreak, two — Massachusetts and New York — have passed laws that explicitly immunize the facilities. Governors in Connecticut, Georgia, Michigan and New Jersey have issued executive orders that immunize facilities.”
In other words, New York not only issued rules requiring COVID-19 infected patients to be admitted into nursing homes, and barred them from testing, it also granted nursing homes immunity against lawsuits.
Talk about triple injury. Clearly, New York nursing home patients have gotten ill and died due to willfully negligent directives. On top of that, families have been deprived of due process and any legal recourse for these beyond-reprehensible criminal actions.