Loading...

DOJ Seeking Data on COVID-19 Nursing Home Deaths From Four States

August 27, 2020 by Dan McCue
DOJ Seeking Data on COVID-19 Nursing Home Deaths From Four States

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced Wednesday it is seeking data from the governors of four states that issued orders “which may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents.”

Officials said Wednesday afternoon that the department’s civil rights division is evaluating whether to initiate investigations under a federal law that protects the rights of people in state-run nursing homes and other facilities.

The four states of interest are New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan, all of which have Democratic governors.

“Protecting the rights of some of society’s most vulnerable members, including elderly nursing home residents, is one of our country’s most important obligations,” Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division Eric Dreiband said in a written statement. “We must ensure they are adequately cared for with dignity and respect and not unnecessarily put at risk.”

But Tiffany Brown, spokeswoman for Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer immediately fired back, saying “protecting the health, safety, and wellbeing of our seniors and most vulnerable residents has been a top priority throughout this crisis.

“The fact that this letter was sent during the middle of the Republican National Convention week to four Democratic governors should make it crystal clear that this is nothing more than election year politics,” Brown said.

The crux of the Justice Department inquiry is its claim that the governors forced nursing homes to admit COVID-19 patients into their facilities, “often without adequate testing.”

It makes particular note of a March 25, 2020 order issued in New York which said, “No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to [a nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. [Nursing homes] are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”

It then goes on to cite Centers for Disease Control statistics that show New York having experienced the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States, with 32,592 victims.

“New York’s death rate by population is the second highest in the country with 1,680 deaths per million people,” a release from the department said. “New Jersey’s death rate by population is 1,733 deaths per million people – the highest in the nation.

“In contrast, Texas’s death rate by population is 380 deaths per million people; and Texas has just over 11,000 deaths, though its population is 50% larger than New York and has many more recorded cases of COVID-19 – 577,537 cases in Texas versus 430,885 cases in New York. Florida’s COVID-19 death rate is 480 deaths per million; with total deaths of 10,325 and a population slightly larger than New York,” the release continued.

However, the comparisons offer a distorted picture of what has actually occurred and is expected to occur when it comes to the pandemic.

According to The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, an independent global health research center at the University of Washington, New York’s outbreak peaked on or about April 9. But the rates in Florida and Texas are not projected to peak until March 2 and March 20, 2021, respectively.

As for the death rate from COVID-19, the latest research examining deaths out of the total number of infections, which includes unreported cases, suggests that Covid-19 kills from around 0.3% to 1.5% of people infected. 

Most studies put the rate between 0.5% and 1.0%, meaning that for every 1,000 people who get infected, from five to 10 would die on average.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is an outspoken critic of the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak and is about to publish a new book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic,” on Oct. 13.

Neither Cuomo nor his office immediately responded to the Justice Department request for data, but the governor did appear on television Wednesday, telling MSNBC’s Katy Tur that New York will ignore new federal testing guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control.

The new guidelines say that even if an individual is known to have been exposed to a person with the coronavirus, they don’t need to be tested unless they start showing symptoms.

Critics have said the new guidelines are an attempt by the administration to drive down positive test results ahead of the November election.

According to Cuomo, “My health commissioner spoke to the CDC, people who are at the CDC, and they suggested to my health commissioner, on a confidential basis obviously, that this was basically more of a political position that they’re taking.

“It’s totally inconsistent with everything the CDC has said. It’s totally inconsistent with everything we have learned about this virus. It’s totally inconsistent with everything every public health official says,” the governor said.

He continued by saying the new guidelines cannot be justified “on any public health basis.”

“That’s politics,” he said. “That is this president saying, ‘If you don’t test, if we don’t test, then we won’t see the number go up and then we’ll have this false comfort, right?’ President Trump has been saying we only know that we have cases because we test. If we don’t test, then we won’t know that we have the cases, which is obviously absurd and more of his denial strategy. If you don’t screen for cancer, then you won’t know that you have cancer.”

In Michigan, Gov. Whitmer’s spokesperson said the governor will review the Justice Department’s request for data, “and respond as appropriate.”

“However, Americans would all be better served if the Trump administration stopped the partisan games and focused on delivering a real plan to defeat COVID-19,” she said.

In The News

Health

Voting

Political News

January 21, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
Antitrust Bill Targets Big Tech For Preferential Treatment Given to Their Own Products

WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee approved antitrust legislation Thursday that bans Big Tech from giving a preference to their... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee approved antitrust legislation Thursday that bans Big Tech from giving a preference to their own products and services on their Internet platforms. The American Innovation and Choice Online Act responds to criticism that Amazon, Apple, Google and Meta Platforms Inc.’s... Read More

January 21, 2022
by Dan McCue
Global Leaders Facing Complex, Often Divergent Economic Challenges in 2022

GENEVA, Switzerland – Policy makers the world over will face a complex and often divergent set of economic challenges this... Read More

GENEVA, Switzerland – Policy makers the world over will face a complex and often divergent set of economic challenges this year as COVID wanes and other challenges, ranging from inflation to record fiscal debt levels, retake center stage, said participants at the Davos Agenda, a virtual... Read More

January 21, 2022
by Dan McCue
Intel to Build $20 Billion Semiconductor Factory in Ohio Amid Chip Shortage

NEW ALBANY, Ohio —Intel, the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer, announced Friday that it is building a new $20 billion factory... Read More

NEW ALBANY, Ohio —Intel, the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer, announced Friday that it is building a new $20 billion factory outside of Columbus, Ohio. The news is so big amid a shortage of critical microchips that President Joe Biden will use it as a centerpiece for... Read More

January 21, 2022
by Reece Nations
Biden Administration Defends Migrant Expulsion Policy in Court

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration defended its use of a controversial migrant expulsion policy in court on Wednesday despite criticism... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration defended its use of a controversial migrant expulsion policy in court on Wednesday despite criticism from immigrant advocates and attorneys. Public health authority Title 42 was invoked by the Trump administration at the onset of the pandemic and allows immigration officials... Read More

January 20, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
Case Dismissed Against Professor Charged With Spying for China

BOSTON — Federal prosecutors on Thursday dropped charges against a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor accused of spying for China... Read More

BOSTON — Federal prosecutors on Thursday dropped charges against a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor accused of spying for China in another blow to a Trump administration effort to protect U.S. intellectual property. Gang Chen, who was born in China but is a naturalized American, was... Read More

January 20, 2022
by Dan McCue
Biden Defends Record, Vows to Get Out and Talk to Americans Face to Face

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s second solo press conference since taking office turned into a marathon lasting one hour and... Read More

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s second solo press conference since taking office turned into a marathon lasting one hour and 45 minutes on Wednesday as he was repeatedly pressed to defend his first year in office and lay out a vision for himself, his political party... Read More

News From The Well
Exit mobile version