Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Covid-19 finds victims behind all manner of walls

A genuinely-compassionate society would take a deeper, more prescriptive look at the public health and safety implications where people are directed to live and work - and even die a pandemic's death.

But we can't even get broad acceptance of the simplest things during a pandemic, like wearing masks and bellying up to the bar while leaving six feet of safe space for the next customer.

Worse, food-packing facilities in Green Bay and correctional facilities in several Wisconsin communities are on the New York Times latest, long list of institutions with more than 50 reported Covid-19 cases.

You say 50 is a big number?

Among those I see on the list with more than 50 each are the JBS meat plant in Green Bay - 348 cases; the American Foods group meat plant, also in Green Bay -241 cases; a Bird's Eye Food plant in Darien - 100 cases, and the Smithfield's Foods meat plant in Cudahy - 75 cases.

It certainly underscores the ignorant insensitivity of Wisconsin right-wing politicians like Chief Justice Roggensack 

and GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos who separately blew off the risks and penalties endured by meat-packing employees during the pandemic. There are links to their remarks in this recent blog post.

Wisconsin prisons and jails on the Times' list include the state correctional facility in Waupun - 250 cases, and the Milwaukee County House of Corrections in Franklin - 73 cases.

Sharper eyes than mine may find some locations I have missed. Let me know.

And the number of nursing home or long-term care facilities nationwide on the list is absolutely staggering. How on earth does that allegedly-regulated 'industry' survive what happened behind these institutions' walls to very vulnerable residents who got sick, and did not survive?

A separate accounting showed hundreds of known cases and scores of deaths in many Wisconsin nursing care facilities.

Here is a more comprehensive look at the issues in Wisconsin using official state data:
Wisconsin public health investigations as of June 24, 2020
  • Long-term care facility total: among the cumulative 318 public health investigations in long-term care facilities, 146 facilities have had single confirmed cases and 229 facilities have had less than 5 confirmed cases. The median number of confirmed cases per investigation for long-term care facilities is 2, the average is 8, and the range is 1 to 100 confirmed cases.
  • Skilled nursing facility (nursing homes) totalthere have been a total of 119 public health investigations at nursing homes (active and closed investigations) including 71 active investigations. An active public health investigation begins when one or more staff or residents test positive for COVID-19. An investigation is considered closed, and the facility removed from our listing, 28 days after the last positive case was confirmed.
A humane society that took its obligations for public health far more seriously would take a deeper and prescriptive look at all facilities - public and private - where people with little or no say in the matter can be housed, or where racism, economic discrimination and other forces determine where people are directed to live, work and then lose their health and life. 

1 comment:

Katrina said...

That last paragraph is very well written. Thanks.