Is blaming COVID the new ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ card?
In the six weeks before one Christmas, an old-age care home in Lincolnshire, England, saw 18 of its 27 residents die. The average lifespan of a resident in the care home, according to the current manager, was two years, meaning that, on average, one resident would die each month. So to have 18 die in six weeks, even upon entering the winter season, would be something that would require criminal investigation, amid deep social concern. It might surprise some that in mid-January of the following year, there was indeed some concern, but the social aspect seemed muted at best, and the criminal aspect was entirely absent. That is because the Christmas involved was 2020, and the presumed cause of the spate of deaths — COVID — required no criminal investigation at all.
On November 16, all 27 residents of the care home were tested for the COVID virus, as were all 28 staff. None had symptoms of fever or cough. Despite old-age care homes being possibly the most secure buildings in the Western world at the moment, all 27 residents tested positive (presumably via a PCR/35+Ct test), as did 20 of the 28 staff. On November 18, two days after the mass testing, the first resident died. Over the next six weeks, 17 more residents died. As is the ‘rule’ for the classification of death where the deceased had a positive PCR test result in the previous 30 days, every resident death was categorized as COVID. Incidentally, if no PCR test was administered, it could be assumed that all the residents died of natural causes, as well as from various other co-morbidities. But the test was rendered, therefore the classification stands.
You get used to losing residents. That is the nature of a care home and the life expectancy when you are in a care home is two years. You expect to lose residents periodically but not that quickly and in that number. The effects on staff emotionally and mentally are horrendous.Diane Vale
What seems incongruent about the low-key (yet emotionally dramatic) reaction to these deaths is how, in a saner, prior-world, where no PCR test was performed, that there should indeed have been a criminal investigation. All staff would have provided sworn statements to the police, witness statements would have been collected from the remaining residents, the entire home would have become a crime scene, and all administrative and medical records would have been seized. Even so, in the less sane, current-world, if no PCR test had been performed on November 16, with all residents presumably dying from something other than COVID, wouldn’t a similar criminal investigation also be de rigeur?
It seems that by the slimmest of margins (that infamous November 16 PCR test), a full-scale investigation was averted, and this sad event became just another headline story about extremely old people dying from the deadly virus. Instead of facing questioning by the police, staff are praised for their work attempting to heroically keep this bitter scourge at bay against all odds. And perhaps they did. Maybe all of these poor old folks did die just from the virus called COVID-19; maybe they died ‘with it’, along with numerous old-age maladies; and maybe they only died from the natural consequences of being very old. In the before-times, if the manager had said unconvincingly that, “They all just fell,” I think we could all agree there’d be societal outrage; simply by changing this to, “They all died from COVID,” seemingly makes everything OK. And the only thing that the manager receives is not a court date, but praise and condolences. And again, perhaps rightly so.
We were talking to doctors on a daily basis but with a lot of them there were no signs they were going to die. We had one lady who had a full bowl of porridge in the morning, and ate her lunch and she died the next day. Some of the deaths were even quicker than that.Diane Vale
I’m not even saying that the manager and staff are guilty in any way; she, nor they, probably are not. That’s not the point. It seems that COVID, along with its many unique and amazing qualities, also has the ability to eradicate an institution’s responsibility to answer why so many deaths did tragically occur at the same time. Merely saying, “It’s COVID,” just doesn’t seem to cut it.