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Care homes and Covid: chronicle of a death foretold

Care homes have been particularly hard hit during the Covid-19 pandemic, accounting for around 10,500 of France's 28,360 deaths to date (37%). The final data is not yet available. On 12th March, care home visits were banned nationwide. In the care home featured in my story only 5 residents died from Covid-19 and 3 others from illnesses exacerbated by Covid-19 thanks to the use of masks. In other establishments, the mortality rate varies between 15 and 30%, if not more; the figures remain somewhat unclear. 

During the first three weeks of lockdown, elderly people were completely isolated: nobody could be with them at the end of their life and funerals were not permitted. It was also a traumatic time for their families who were not allowed to see loved ones before their body bags were sealed. In April, the measures were slightly relaxed. Elsewhere in Europe, in Italy and Spain, the situation was equally tragic. In contrast, other countries, such as Greece, have reported very few deaths (170) since the majority of the elderly there live with close family rather than in care homes. The director of the care home in my story is a doctor and has chosen to remain anonymous. He contracted Covid in April. He was hospitalised, intubated and spent 5 days in intensive care. He pulled through but is still unwell. And very angry. 25 May 2020

A translation of L'avventura by Fiamma Luzzati. 

Next episode: "Blissful ignorance": the neuro-psychiatric effects of Covid