Monday, December 27, 2021

NJ Agrees to Pay Tens of Millions to Families of Covid-19 Victims in State's Veterans' Homes
Leah Barkoukis / Townhall Tipsheet

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home at Menlo Park became the site of one of the deadliest outbreaks in the nation. While the facility initially underreported the death count, stating 62 died of Covid, it later acknowledged 39 additional resident deaths were due to Covid-19—making the total a staggering 101.

According to a Wall Street Journal investigation, Covid-19 positive residents were separated from dementia patients by a loosely hung piece of plastic. Moreover, employees at the facility were discouraged from using face masks in caring for patients, with one plan discussed to discipline employees over “mask insubordination.” Managers also delayed informing families of residents about the outbreak.

Now, Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration has agreed to pay $53 million to the families of 119 residents, most of whom died from Covid-19 at the state-run facilities at Menlo Park and the Paramus Veterans Memorial Homes. The payout settles claims that officials at these facilities acted with gross negligence in handling the outbreak, according to nursing home and infection control standards.

Health expert says COVID cases should no longer be 'major metric' of pandemic, urges shift to hospitalizations, deaths
/ Blaze Media / News

Health expert Dr. Ashish Jha said Sunday that public health officials should stop using COVID-19 case data as the central metric by which the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic is measured.

What did Jha say?

Jha — the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health and a former health expert at Harvard University — explained on ABC News' "This Week" the Omicron variant changes the game.

According to Jha, using case data to determine the severity of the pandemic is no longer reliable because Omicron appears less virulent despite being highly contagious.

"We have to do a shift. Look, for two years infections always preceded hospitalizations, which preceded deaths. So you could look at infections and know what was coming. Even through the Delta wave that was true because it was largely unvaccinated people who were getting infected," Jha explained.

"Omicron changes that. This is the shift we've been waiting for in many ways where we're moving to a phase where if you're vaccinated and particularly if you're boosted, you might get an infection. It might be a couple of days of not feeling so great, but you're going to bounce back. That's very different than what we have seen in the past," he continued. "So, I no longer think infections generally should be the major metric."