Monday, March 08, 2021

Governor Murphy on "Face the Nation" on March 7, 2021. The nursing home issue.

On March 7, 2021, the CBS program "Face the Nation" interviewed two governors, Phil Murphy of New Jersey and Jim Justice of West Virginia. In this post, we discuss some points of the interview with Governor Murphy.

Margaret Brennan, sensitive to some of the problems New York Governor Cuomo is having with undercounts of deaths, asked Murphy about undercounts in New Jersey. As a first point, Brennan did NOT address the issue that admission of Covid-infected people proximately caused the deaths of many nursing home "inmates," who were basically captive to the New Jersey policies. As a second point, in its order of March 31, 2021, New Jersey basically copied the New York order. As a third point, the March 31 order did not mention segregation of infected people. There is an order of April 13 mentioning segregation, but not quite in the way Governor Murphy discussed on March 7. Here is the relevant exchange:

MARGARET BRENNAN: We will be watching for that. I want to ask you, though, about your record and last spring. It was last March that the-- your administration ordered long-term care facilities to start accepting infected residents. New York has gotten a lot of scrutiny for a similar decision. Are you confident that New Jersey did not undercount or-- deliberately or otherwise, nursing home deaths? GOVERNOR PHIL MURPHY: Yeah, Margaret, I don't have any insight on New York, but I have a clear answer as to what we did in New Jersey. Our health department, our commissioner was explicit, black and white, if you readmit a previously COVID positive resident, they need to be segregated. They need to be separated into either their own floor, their own wing, their own building and staff as well. Secondly, I think we started reporting probable deaths from COVID as early as June. Thirdly, we hired, in the middle of this, a firm that came in independently- There are a number points here. As illustrated in the image below, the March 2021 order in New Jersey was basically copied from the earlier New York order. Thus, the text --I don't have any insight on New York -- is a bit tricky. As a second point, the March order did not allow testing. As a third point, the March 2021 said NOTHING about segregation. The later April 13 order did talk about segregating ANY incoming patient. It was not specific to re-admission of a previously positive resident.

Merely for entertainment,

GOVERNOR JIM JUSTICE: Well, I don't know every single thing, but I know this, that the states, whether it be New Jersey or New York, I mean, they've got it all wrong. You know, we got it right in West Virginia, little old West Virginia. That it's, you know, a lot of people perceive maybe not in a good way.
MARGARET BRENNAN: These allegations of personal behavior, though? GOVERNOR JIM JUSTICE: I think it's terrible and I-- I truly believe, you know, that he has a dog's mess on his hands, and with all this, you know, where it stands-
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm. GOVERNOR JIM JUSTICE: --it's not going to do anything except getting worse. MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay. GOVERNOR JIM JUSTICE: And I-- and I would say he needs to resign.

copied from a file at senate.nj-->


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