Pandemic death toll no excuse for health officials; senior care facilities have always been killing grounds

nursing home
A Washington state senior care facility was one coronavirus hotspot.

How is it that the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is laying waste to our elderly?

The statistics are grim indeed. No matter where you look, be it Europe, the United Kingdom, the United States or Canada, the vast majority of deaths are among the elderly in senior care facilities.

In Canada, it is about 80 per cent.

Now, our elected leaders say they are shocked and disheartened by the toll this coronavirus has taken on seniors.

Disheartened, I can understand. We are losing our parents and grandparents to this disease from China. But shocked?

Why are they shocked?

Could our public health officials and leaders not have seen this coming?

After all, last year was one of the worst flu seasons we have ever experienced and who did it kill?

The vast majority of deaths were seniors. According to a Center for Disease Control study, of the 80,000 people who died from the flu in the 2018-2019 season, 90 per cent were the elderly, with the highest rate of death experienced by those adults aged 85 and older.

The study concluded that the elderly who died were frail, often suffering from other medical conditions and, as such, their immune systems could not cope with the pathogen.

It also noted the vaccinations prescribed in that season did not do a very good job of protecting people from the particular type of flu that was then circulating.

All of this will, of course, sound very familiar to anyone following the path of the current pandemic.

A cursory scan of articles on the internet reveals story after story that say the exact same thing about the current pandemic.

It is the elderly who are doing the dying.

It has been the same story year after year after year.

The only difference this year is that governments have chosen to force people to isolate and reduce our social interactions to the bare minimum.

These lock downs and calls for social distancing are designed to reduce the spread of the disease, to protect those most at risk – the elderly.

Ironic, no?

Yet here we are and it is, once again, the elderly who are dying.

Why can’t we protect the elderly in care facilities from the ravages of epidemics and pandemics.

We fail every year. Tens of thousands die every year.

Something is horribly wrong with our public health policies and not enough people are asking tough questions of our public health officials.

Whenever I tune into the daily pandemic briefings I see nothing but a disconnect from reality. For all the talk of protective gear and ventilators and testing, they fail to address the number one issue – it is the elderly in care facilities that die.

Can those deaths be prevented?

How do we protect the elderly housed in care facilities?

How is the disease getting into those facilities?

What do we need to do to make those facilities safe havens for the elderly?

We better figure this out quickly because right now care facilities are the killing grounds for our parents and grandparents.

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