Social isolation has been a major issue during the entire coronavirus pandemic, and NBC News is finally getting around to recognizing the toll such isolation is taking on nursing home patients.
The outlet claimed the issue has been “hidden,” without noting that it is the media such as NBC that has hidden such concerns. Conservatives have warned repeatedly about the consequences of endless lockdowns and restrictions. President Donald Trump even warned about the risk of increased suicides due to the lockdowns – and the media called him a liar.
“At a time when many Americans are experiencing increased stress, anxiety, and personal loss, we must also ensure that our country can meet the mental health needs of those struggling in this crisis,” Trump said in October.
The media then “fact checked” his prediction rather than take seriously the mental health concerns for those isolated from friends and family.
Now NBC is reporting that “the very isolation that is meant to protect nursing home residents from Covid-19 is also contributing to their deaths.”
“Our loved ones don’t have the luxury of time,” Joanne Miles Thomas says in the NBC report on nursing home isolation, as images of an elderly woman reaching out for her relatives is shown. A nurse tells the woman her family can’t come over to her because they have to “socially distance.” Thomas’ father is a war veteran in a nursing home.
“What does isolation do to a human being when you isolate them from their family and from other human beings?” narrates Gelsey Randazzo Markese, whose grandmother was in a nursing home during the pandemic. “We’re taking away the thing that’s most important to anyone at the end of life – and that’s your family.”
An NBC narrator then explains how Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) issued an order in March 2020 that banned families from visiting their relatives in nursing homes in order to protect them from the coronavirus. This was the same month that Cuomo’s health department also issued rules prohibiting nursing homes from refusing COVID-19-positive patients who had been discharged from nearby hospitals. The policy resulted in thousands of deaths among New York’s nursing homes as the virus quickly spread through the most vulnerable populations, and we still don’t know exactly how many died as a result of the policy.
“New York’s coronavirus death toll in nursing homes, already among the highest in the nation, could actually be a significant undercount,” The Associated Press reported in August. “Unlike every other state with major outbreaks, New York only counts residents who died on nursing home property and not those who were transported to hospitals and died there.”
NBC now reports that the severe restrictions placed on nursing home patients is itself contributing to mental and physical decline, including death.
Markese says she understands why the current policies are in place, but says that “families need each other,” and that our elderly relatives are “giving up” after months of isolation.
“Seeing your parent through a window like an animal in a zoo, trying to hear him, trying to see him through the screen, trying to advocate for him, was heartbreaking,” Thomas says.
“We understood it in the beginning. We understood why they had to shut it down and protect them, but we thought it would be only a month or two,” Thomas tells NBC. “But here we are seven months later.”
She added that many elderly parents have lost weight and said they don’t want to live anymore. “The suffering is immeasurable,” she said.
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