Friday, May 29, 2020

Forbes: "The Most Important COVID-19 Statistic"

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Forbes policy editor and the Forbes staff published an in-depth overview of where we are in our nation in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic.

They conclude that while "Americans are vigorously debating the merits of continuing to lock down the prevent the spread of COVID-19, a single statistic may hold the key to resolving this debate."

Be informed.

Late yesterday afternoon, President Trump did as he promised he would do through an executive order---called to remove statutory liability protections and cut federal funding for tech companies that engage in censorship and political conduct---I'll be talking more about this on the radio today.

The left, who insists on shutting down the world, consistently accuses conservatives and Christians of denying "science" and "data."

Well, let's take a closer look at the science and data.

The #1 COVID problem

Forbes notes that 43% of US deaths are from 0.6% of the population.

They further note that 2.1 million Americans (as of May 22), representing 0.62% of the US population, reside in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

As of May 22, in the 39 states that currently report such figures, 43% of all COVID-19 deaths have taken place in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Forbes believes this single statistic may hold the key to how we move forward in addressing the virus.

Here's a map of the percentage of deaths in each state occurring in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

And Forbes says "43%" could be an undercount. "States like New York exclude from their nursing home death tallies those who die in a hospital, even if they were originally infected in an assisted living facility. Outside of New York, more than half of all deaths from COVID-19 are of residents in long term facilities."

Another way to look at this truth is to look at the data on deaths in assisted living and nursing home facilities as a share of the population. On that basis, 3 states stand out in a negative way: New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

This is the share of nursing home and assisted living facility deaths caused by COVID-19.

Keep in mind that New York, New Jersey and Michigan governors forced nursing homes to accept patients with active COVID-19 infections who were being discharged from hospitals.

Even after hospitalizations peaked, governors like New York's Andrew Cuomo were doubling down on their mandates.

As late as April 23, Cuomo was demanding that nursing homes "don't have a right to object" to accepting elderly patients with active COVID infections.

He said, "That is the rule and that is the regulation and they have to comply with that."

It wasn't until May 10---after the deaths of nearly 3,000 New York residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities---did Cuomo back off and partially rescind his order.

Speaking of vulnerable seniors: Let's look at Florida.

Contrast the decisions Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made with those made by NY Governor Andrew Cuomo.

On March 15, before most states had locked down, Gov. DeSantis signed an executive order that banned all nursing home visitations from friends and family, and also banned hospitals from discharging COVID infected patients into long term care facilities.

Mary Mayhew, who runs Florida's Agency for Healthcare Administration, says:
"Every day on these calls [with hospitals] I would hear the same comments and questions around 'We need to get these individuals returned back to the nursing home.' We drew a hard line early on."

She says, she repeatedly said to hospitals, to CEOs, to the discharge planners, to the chief medical officers:
"I understand that for 20 years it's been ingrained, especially through medical reimbursement policy, to get individuals in and out. That is not our focus today. I'm not going to send anyone back to a nursing home who has the slightest risk of being positive."

Florida also prioritized long-term care facilities for personal protective equipment (PPE) with the understanding that it was probably more important to first protect the workers in these facilities to control any spread of the virus.

You can see on the map above that shows the number of nursing homes and assisted living resident's deaths per 10,000 residents that Florida---a haven for elderly people---had 59 deaths per 10,000, while New York had 255. Washington State has, so far, 103 per 10,000.

While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended that people avoid crowds of 250 or more, Gov. DeSantis said earlier this week that he lacks the authority to impose that type of sanction, instead, recognizing the authority of local governments.

A glaring contrast.

John Nolte wrote this yesterday:
Retirees, those who are no longer working, those who are most susceptible to the coronavirus — instead of locking them down away from the coronavirus, Democrat governor after Democrat governor after Democrat governor mandated that the infection be poured directly into the very facilities that house those most at risk.
And it’s not as if these Democrat governors did not know this. By the time the virus hit America, we already knew this was a virus that devastated seniors, especially seniors in nursing homes. We learned that from Italy.
Think about that…
We’re hit with a virus that primarily kills retirees, so the government locked up all the students and working people who aren’t at any real risk, and then forced infection into the homes of retirees who are.

While it is not the case in every state, it is in almost every state. There is a glaring contrast between the results of conservative Republican governors compared to that of leftist, progressive governors.

Oregon would be one of the exceptions, but there aren't many. Look at the map. Obviously, there are a number of reasons for the wide difference in the various states.

None of the Republicans would be tempted to make decisions based on prolonging the pandemic until, say, November.

A conservative, biblical worldview responds differently.

Clearly, science and data show that state governments are much more responsible for the severity of the COVID deaths in their state than is the federal government---specifically President Trump.

The next time you see Joe Biden muttering from his basement about how none of this would have happened had he been president, smile...and remember to vote.

The last word?

Forbes gives a list of things that can be learned from Florida.

They conclude with the good news---the silver lining attached to the COVID long term care tragedy:

"The fact that nearly half of all COVID-19 deaths have occurred in long-term care facilities means that the 99.4% of the country that 'doesn't' live in those places is roughly half as likely to die of the disease."

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Vigilant. Be Prayerful.