So-called “Nursing Home” Corporations and Government Agencies Are Acting Like They Didn’t Know The COVID-19 Pandemic Was Coming. They Should Have Known.

By Dave Kingsley

It is Overwhelmingly Clear that Key “Nursing Home” Institutions Should Have Known What Was Coming.

CNN is reporting 274,121 COVID deaths in the U.S. as I write this post. It is estimated that 40% of these victims are long-term care patients and employees; hence, approximately 109,648 patients and staff in long-term care facilities have died from COVID throughout the pandemic.  Had  responsible parties in the system been prepared and acted responsibly, these deaths could have been prevented.

Decent medical care includes identification of possible and probable infectious diseases.  But that has been pervasively lacking in the profit and nonprofit long-term care system.  That is despicable and inexcusable.  If corporations extracting wealth from long-term care didn’t know a disease was coming that could kill a high proportion of people in their care, they should have known. “In the United States, in 2013, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation conducted a comprehensive review of worldwide data and predicted that a pandemic would occur during the next decade, most likely due to coronavirus.”[1]

The word was out in December of 2019 that a novel virus was spreading in China and causing some drastic government action by the Chinese government.  U.S. intelligence services were well aware of the spreading virus by late 2019.  By January of 2020, anyone reading major newspapers should have been aware that a global pandemic was probable.  Asian countries were aware of the spread of a coronavirus and taking extraordinary action to shut it down – which they did.

What did the U.S. long-term care industry do while China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea were taking action to block the spread of COVID?  Corporations extracting an extraordinary amount of cash from facilities for their investors continued business as usual. They did not have sufficient personal protective equipment stocked when the pandemic hit; they had no protocol in place for protecting patients and staff; they failed to put a testing program in place; and, they had no plan for acquiring separate buildings for quarantining infected patients and staff.  This lack of preparation for preventing an infectious disease under any circumstances is inexcusable, but in the face of a deadly, rapidly spreading pandemic, it is an atrocity.

Based on the architecture of long-term care facilities and the fragility of patients forced to live in close proximity, a tragedy was waiting to happen. Furthermore, staff continued to pass between the community and facilities without testing, PPE, and a clear understanding of the dangers involved with the disease.  Long-term care corporations set their patients up as “sitting ducks” in the spread of a highly contagious and novel virus for which no vaccine was available.  This deadly medical malpractice occurred with the acquiescence of the CMS, state regulatory agencies, and local health departments. 

    It was gross negligence for responsible parties not to recognize as early as December 2019 that COVID-19 would be a threat to the million plus patients in U.S. long term care facilities and take action to protect them.  All responsible parties, including long-term care providers and government agencies at the federal, state, and municipal level should be investigated and held accountable by a commission independent of those corporations and agencies.

[1] Solano, J. et al. (2020), “Public Health Strategies Contain and Mitigate COVID-19:  A Tale of Two Democracies.” The American Journal of Medicine, Vol 133, No 12, 1366. Renowned infectious disease expert Laurie Garrett and most other scientists involved with novel diseases – especially the coronavirus family of virus – were warning about the likelihood of the emergence of a virus like COVID-19.  See Laurie Garrett and The Coming Plague at

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