For a long time, the US has been an outlier in terms of its global leadership. The country is seen as a beacon for democracy and freedom, but it’s also been home to some of the most egregious human rights violations over the course of history. In the age of Trump, it’s easy to feel like enough is never enough.
2:57 p.m., October 11, 2021 ET
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks to media on Friday while touring a vaccination site in New Jersey with Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.).
courtesy of Shutterstock/Justin Lane
Remember how New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration blamed the Trump Justice Department’s politics for probing the state’s terrible supervision of nursing facilities last year? Now the Democrat from Fresh Jersey needs a new justification.
The Newark Star-Susan Ledger’s Livio has the following report:
The Department of Justice ramped up its year-long investigation into whether the pandemic response at two state-run veterans facilities was mismanaged this week, sending investigators to interview staff and patients and witness the care given… According to a count of verified and suspected COVID-related fatalities maintained by the state Health Department, the epidemic claimed the lives of 103 residents at the Memorial Veterans Facility at Menlo Park in Edison and 89 people at the home in Paramus. The mortality rates at these two state institutions were among the highest in a state that lost more long-term care patients per capita than almost any other. .. Meanwhile, hundreds of lawsuits alleging gross negligence have been brought against the state by the relatives of deceased soldiers and their wives, as well as workers who died or were placed in danger. Employees were discouraged from wearing masks early in the epidemic, and some were even fired, for fear of alarming locals. COVID-19 patients were not separated from non-infected individuals, according to locals, enabling the virus to spread.
Given activist Attorney General Merrick Garland’s troubling previous record, this column is not going to vouch for the integrity of the Biden Justice Department. But there’s no denying Donald Trump hasn’t been in control since January 20. Lindy Washburn and Scott Fallon, who reported on the state-run veterans facilities for New Jersey’s Bergen Record newspaper last week, broke the story of Justice’s newest action:
The government is looking into whether the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act was violated, which protects inmates of nursing homes and other state-run facilities from “egregious or blatant circumstances” that cause damage. Mismanagement, inadequate infection control, and an anti-mask policy may have contributed to among of the highest COVID-related mortality rates of any long-term care facility nationally, according to months of investigation by The Record and NorthJersey.com. Residents of Menlo Park died 103 times, whereas residents of Paramus died 89 times. At each location, a nurse’s assistant also died as a result of the illness. Last October, a spokesperson for Murphy labeled the probe by then-President Donald Trump’s administration, which was running for reelection at the time, “politically motivated.” But, a year later, the probe is still ongoing, despite Trump’s departure and the appointment of President Joe Biden, a Murphy friend, to the White House. It’s also still going strong, despite the fact that the two officials who started it no longer work for the Justice Department. .. The residences were sluggish to shut common spaces, according to a federal Medicare inspection originally published by NorthJersey.com. They enabled infected or symptomatic individuals to mix with others who were not sick or who were waiting for test results more than a month after the outbreak began. Staff used insufficient personal protective equipment and went in and out of rooms with COVID patients and those who were asymptomatic or uninfected. Staff were instructed not to wear safety masks at the start of the epidemic because it might frighten people. Managers even created a series of punishments for nurses who utilized the homes’ supply of masks with the assistance of Murphy’s office. NorthJersey.com sought further emails on the mask policy, which were nearly entirely suppressed.
Former Governor Andrew Cuomo’s (D., N.Y.) administration became renowned for forcing Empire State care facilities to accept Covid-positive patients. However, across the Hudson River in New Jersey, his fellow Democrat, Mr. Murphy, issued a similar order, with equally catastrophic consequences.
Mr. Murphy attempted blaming sections of the healthcare sector when his team wasn’t criticizing Mr. Trump, despite the fact that many of the worst results happened at his state-run institutions and all facilities had to follow his rules. Paul Mulshine, a writer for the Star-Ledger in May 2020, observed that state Republican lawmakers were raising concerns about nursing facilities, writing:
I questioned Murphy about it at one of his coronavirus briefings last week. “A lot of my readers are upset because the government is clamping down on golfers and runners while also sending COVID-19 positive people to nursing homes.” I understand that the nursing home’s personnel is still not fully screened. Do you believe there should be an investigation into this?” “The inconsistent performance of this business is jaw-dropping,” Murphy said, “and that’s as generous as I can be.”
Matt Friedman wrote on Politico in May of 2020 about the same time:
… When it came to the long-term care providers themselves, Murphy proceeded to — well, he didn’t use the word “blame.” “Do you have any nice apples?” He said, “You bet there are.” “However, there are some apples that did not perform as expected.”
New Jersey voters will have the opportunity to voice their opinions on whether Mr. Murphy is the apple that didn’t get the job done in November.
“The Cost: Trump, China, and American Revival” is co-authored by James Freeman.
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