As the COVID infection and death rates steadily decrease, and as vaccination rates continue to climb, many states are returning to some semblance of normalcy. One major step in establishing the new normal is the relaxing of nursing home visitor restrictions (https://apnews.com/article/rhode-island-birthdays-coronavirus-pandemic-california-nursing-homes-de3a934570fa1582e6d3878c8d9b3594).
Many families have not been able to see their relatives in person since lockdowns began back in March 2020. Up to this point a lot of contact has been through phone calls, video chats, and socially distanced interactions. Now families are able to meet in person and even embrace each other for the first time in over a year. This comes in part because of the push in many states to get nursing home staff and residents vaccinated. Over 2.4 million staff and residents have been fully vaccinated so far, with more coming soon. Brandon Johnson of LaFollette, TN was able to celebrate his grandmother’s birthday with her, saying, “COVID robbed a year from us — a year where we couldn’t hug her, kiss on her and love her. That was tough, but now we’re making the most of it. COVID is a nasty thing, but the one good thing about it is that it was a wake-up call to be really grateful for what you have.”
While some nursing homes are reopening, others are taking a slower approach, trying to err on the side of caution. Nursing homes became epicenters for the disease early on, accounting for more than 600,000 cases, and over 130,000 deaths. Some governors have been criticized for their handling of nursing homes including Govs. Cuomo (NY), Newsome (CA) and Whitmer (MI). Gov. Cuomo has been under increased scrutiny for altering or witholding the nursing home data in an attempt to cover up the issue.
Is this good news a sign of progress in the right direction? Even with mutated strains popping up, is the U.S. past the worst of this pandemic?
Image Credit: AP Photo/Steven Senne