The data that was recently shared on the persistent, growing and deadly outbreak of COVID-19 in California nursing homes is a clarion call to action for all of us. This deadly pandemic is targeting our most vulnerable elders. Those charged with caring for them – low wage workers, almost always women – are walking into infection zones without the most basic of protections. Immediate testing of all residents and staff must be required as well as 100% daily reporting on infection rates from all skilled nursing facilities in the state. Raincoats and rags turned into isolation gowns and face masks are not adequate stand-ins for medical grade PPE, or a serious testing regimen.
As a state, and as a nation, we must rapidly escalate our coordination, manufacturing and distribution of PPE to ensure price gouging and bidding wars don’t delay critical needs on the frontline of the fight against the virus. We implore our leaders in Washington to stop bickering and start coordinating with the urgency the moment demands. That means releasing more funds for states like ours, which are grappling with major outbreak, and doing a better job coordinating a national testing regimen like other developed nations throughout the world.