Policies Matter! Factors Contributing to Nursing Home Outbreaks During the COVID-19 Pandemic


Susan Chapman and Charlene Harrington

October 27, 2020

Between February 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began and August 2020, the nation has watched over 5.2 million individuals become infected and over 167,000 deaths. Unfortunately, many of the infections and deaths have been nursing home residents and staff. To date, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported over 286,000 infected nursing home residents and almost 46,000 resident deaths as of August 2, 2020. There have been many federal policies that, when adopted, actually made the COVID-19 situation worse. As federal, state, and local governments and public health officials plan for an expected resurgence of COVID-19 in the next few months, we need policy makers to take actions to improve nursing home staff and resident safety. We need more nurses in policy making positions within the health care system and in federal and state government so that reasonable policies can be made that save lives and prevent future outbreaks.