It’s at times like this evening I wonder if there actually is a loose arrangement between the media and the people running the Irish coronavirus response. In the first instance I couldn’t believe I was hearing the key piece of data the chief medical officer revealed at today’s press briefing. I actually watched it back 3 times just to make sure he said it. And he did.
502 people have died from a nursing home or residential care setting. So let me get this straight in my head, 502 people out of the 730 that have died, are from a nursing home or a residential care facility. 427 in nursing homes. 69% of all deaths have taken place from this sector. And the government and media kind of shrug their shoulders. Honorable exception to David Quinn who came armed with some research and hard questions on this topic.
I wrote about nursing homes two weeks ago, back when the data first started revealing that there was a massive problem, but even I didn’t think that the volume of devastation coming out of that sector was this big.
Now I don’t mind telling you it’s this type of extraordinary information that gets my attention. After 12 weeks following this, I have like many of you, coronavirus fatigue. But this is spectacularly bad stuff.
Yet then the curious thing happened. In the first 3 hours no-one has reported it on-line. And by report it – I mean it is no-one’s headline. Most of the media in Ireland follow the same initial theme as RTE below.
Now maybe it’s earth shattering news to all of you good people – that gatherings of 5,000 people or more are off the agenda till the end of August – as RTE’s main headline above indicates – but I sure as hell doubt it. RTE have another beauty of a headline today Pascal Donoghue informing the nation that we are facing into a recession. No shit Sherlock.
Pascal Donoghue, god bless him, talks about the obvious like he’s just invented it.
For some reason the key piece of data – 502 deaths – seems to be buried in the middle of today’s stories. It is curious to me how the 4 or 5 different Irish news organisations all lead with broadly the same two headline stories 3 hours after the press conference.
- The days cases and deaths
- Info about gatherings of over 5,000
The mind boggles. Think of this whole catastrophe another way. If we had protected our care facilities for the elderly and people with disabilities we wouldn’t have a coronavirus issue in this country. We’d be Germany on steroids. These 502 deaths and the ones that are imminently to follow in that sector are an indication of one thing.
That we the people held up our part of the bargain throughout this crisis but the government did not uphold theirs. They failed to protect who they said they were going to protect. The elderly and medical workers.
Before all of the excuse making starts let us get one thing straight – we had the people and resources to protect them.
On March 19th Simon Harris had 40,000 people at his disposal. Irish people from all corners of Ireland and from around the world offering their wide array of skills and services. The Irish government had the manpower to put a firewall around nursing homes and residential care facilities on March 19th. All the orchestra of medical professionals needed was a conductor or two.
Alas, the Irish government clearly didn’t do it. In fact they still are not doing it to any great degree. Can someone please provide data on how many of these 40,000 are currently actively involved in the coronavirus response or were they too left on the sidelines through mis-management.
I would remind the next government, before it sets sail, that we still need to ring fence these institutions for the foreseeable future and find the money to do it.
Here’s an idea. Take a chunk of the 115 million a month you are paying private hospitals and billionaires and start paying and staffing private nursing homes. Two days ago Minister Harris warned about the ‘disaster’ that awaits if we the public became complacent in the days ahead.
502 deaths indicates that it was the government response to nursing homes in the critical month of March that was the most complacent act of this whole crisis.
In the not too distant future…….there are many families who won’t put it as nicely as that.