One of the unnecessary tragedies of this pandemic has been the deaths of so many elderly patients in nursing homes, especially in New York. One Democratic Assemblyman who represents Queens criticized the state because it “failed to protect the lives of the most vulnerable members of our community. The fact we maintained and pushed COVID-positive patients into facilities that were not equipped to handle them, it was a fatal error.”
As sad as that decision was, what is even more concerning is how and why that decision was made. There was a directive that was issued that a state official says, “was meant to protect those infected with the coronavirus from discrimination.” Dr. Merrill Matthews in a recent article explains what that official-sounding phrase about discrimination really meant.
It appears that New York wanted to create a new protected class. That would be a patient with COVID-19. The guidance issued by the state seemed to prohibit even testing a patient to see if he or she was still contagious. It proclaimed that: “No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the nursing home solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19.”
New York has had more than 5,600 nursing home deaths. The governor and many other health officials admit that their policy was a deadly decision. But only recently have some begun to understand that this fatal decision was not based on “the science.” Apparently, it was based on a misguided attempt to implement a social justice ideal of nondiscrimination against patients infected with the coronavirus who then spread it to thousands of other patients.