If you’ve been watching or reading any coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at all that isn’t Fox News, you’re probably aware that Donald Trump’s boneheaded decision to kill off the CDC’s pandemic response team back in 2018 is a big reason why the disease has been so hard to contain. However, it’s far from one of the only government programs Trump has recklessly decided to burn to the ground. One of the more horrific stories we keep seeing in the media are reports of coronavirus outbreaks in nursing homes, as people over 65 are considerably more vulnerable to the disease.
Now we’re seeing that the disease has killed far more nursing home residents than was previously thought – with the death toll now believed to be around 7,000 nursing home staff and residents. These preventable tragedies can unfortunately be traced to yet another disastrous policy of the Trump administration. Prior to even being sworn in, Trump was working with Mark Parkinson, the CEO of a nursing home industry group to roll back fines and regulations that these homes had to adhere to.
One of the targets was a position created by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during the Obama administration, that would involve hiring infection preventionists who made sure nursing home staff members routinely washed their hands and washed surfaces to keep outbreaks in these facilities under control. Faced with a clear choice between saving lives and lining the pockets of people like Parkinson, Trump chose the latter, even before there was a pandemic.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making