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Covid Infection: Stop Caregivers for Scapegoating

Simon Johnson and Larissa J. Lucas /Washington DC

After a two-year pandemic, there is a natural desire to blame someone for the horrific death toll from Covid-19, as the Omicron variants are rampant and uncertain. And in the United States, the United Kingdom and other countries, nursing home workers are increasingly being pointed at. As one of the most prominent studies in recent years, “Nursing home staff are believed to be responsible for the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (Sars-CoV-2) infection in nursing homes.”
Such statements are not only unfair at the individual level. They are also the wrong way to think about ways to avoid future death. Faced with our broader social responsibility, it is much better to spend more resources on investigating the causes of the spread of other viruses such as hospital and nursing home visitors and building trust in public health systems. It will be good.
There is no alternative, either because people are recovering from surgery (often after a fall for many people over the age of 80) or because they are in a long-term condition requiring continuous medical care. Be careful living in a nursing home for. Residents of nursing homes require daily care by trained nurses and other skilled staff. This has always been a daunting task and can be dangerous in the event of a pandemic.
Most nursing home staff have made great efforts to protect themselves, their families, and the people they care for. But keep in mind that at the beginning of the pandemic, we couldn’t even provide a mask that worked properly. Nursing homes were also a low priority for regular Covid-19 testing.
Even if these resource depletions are addressed and wages are raised (from their initial lows), many nursing homes are still short of staff. Those who go to work there every day should be praised as heroes and provided with all possible protections, including assistance in arranging safe commuting and safe living. Raising their wages further will be the right step in the right direction.
Visitors are very important to residents of nursing homes, and the almost complete quarantine requirements for 2020 were devastating in myriad ways. However, nursing homes should be empowered to screen and limit visits if they are not safe for vulnerable residents. Unvaccinated and Covid-positive visitors are now a serious threat to nursing homes as Omicron takes cases to new heights.
Hospitals are the pinnacle of all health systems, and countries have spent a very long time trying to keep them functioning, including costly closures. However, hospitals are often bound by different (less demanding) standards than nursing homes regarding the use of personal protective equipment and the examination of employees, patients, and visitors. Even in major hospitals, the scope of infection control requires the same level of scrutiny as nursing homes. A well-functioning medical system must ensure the safety of both types of facilities.
Obviously, we all want the pandemic to go away. The best way to achieve this is to increase the rate of vaccination and, where appropriate, to ensure that booster immunization is as high as possible. Massachusetts rates are promising, including universal vaccinations for nursing home staff and the highest domestic rates for boosters.
Massachusetts Nursing Homes were fortunate to be included in the Pilot Covid-19 Test Initiative conducted by the Broad Institute in April 2020. This provided a better understanding of the spread of asymptomaticity and improved infection control throughout the state. By August 2020, a universal test protocol for nursing homes was introduced and financially and logistically supported by the State Public Health Service.
Currently, all Massachusetts nursing home employees and contractors are required to undergo a weekly PCR test, and once a case is detected, all staff and residents are tested every three days. Rapid antigen testing is also offered and encouraged to be used in state nursing homes. And, in addition to universal vaccination, masking requirements protect staff and residents. Wherever possible, these actions help eliminate staff as a source of infection for the population.
But what about everyone else in the community? Nursing home workers, hospital staff, and families visiting hospitals and nursing homes are all infected with the virus, primarily from friends and family, and interact indoors, especially during meals.
Anyone who is not vaccinated contributes to the expansion of the community and increases the likelihood that the coronavirus will infect vulnerable people in care facilities and elsewhere. The spread of the virus also has significant economic implications, as exposure and infection exacerbate labor shortages, including healthcare workers in all areas. Indeed, the current greatest threat to vulnerable populations is the lack of staff to care for them.
False and disinformation confuses people about the value and safety of vaccines and puts the lives of nursing home workers and vulnerable people everywhere. To blame those at the forefront of care is complex, as it only highlights the widespread failure of the public and policy makers to take their responsibilities seriously and act accordingly. — Project Syndicate

?? Simon Johnson, a former Chief Economist at the International Monetary Fund, is a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Business and co-chair of the Covid-19 Policy Alliance. He is a co-author with Jonathan Gruber and a co-author of Jump-Starting America: How Breakthrough Science Can Revive Economic Growth and the American Dream.
?? Larissa J. Lucas is the Medical Director of Extended Care for the North Shore Physicians Group.

http://www.gulf-times.com/story/707392/Covid-transmission-Stop-scapegoating-care-workers Covid Infection: Stop Caregivers for Scapegoating

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