Deaths

The Hidden Deaths Of The COVID Pandemic

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Sara Wittner had seemingly gotten her life back under control. After a December relapse in her battle with drug addiction, the 32-year-old completed a 30-day detox program and started taking a monthly injection to block her cravings for opioids. She was engaged to be married, working for a local health association and counseling others about drug addiction.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

The virus knocked down all the supports she had carefully built around her: no more in-person Narcotics Anonymous meetings, no talks over coffee with a trusted friend or her addiction recovery sponsor. As the virus stressed hospitals and clinics, her appointment to get the next monthly shot of medication was moved back from 30 days to 45 days.

As best her family could reconstruct from the messages on her phone, Wittner started using again on April 12, Easter Sunday, more than a week after her

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‘Last Responders’ Seek To Expand Postmortem COVID Testing In Unexplained Deaths

Examining dead bodies and probing for a cause of death is rarely seen as a heroic or glamorous job. Rather, as the coronavirus pandemic has unfolded, all eyes have been on the medical workers and public health disease detectives fighting on the front lines ― and sometimes giving their lives — to bring the novel coronavirus under control.

But as the crusade to test for the coronavirus and trace cases continues, medical examiners and coroners play a vital — if often unsung ― role. These “last responders” are typically called on to investigate and determine the cause of deaths that are unexpected or unnatural, including deaths that occur at home.

In the early days of the outbreak, a scarcity of tests often hampered their efforts. Now, as that equipment gradually becomes more widely available, these professionals may be able to fill in answers about how people died and if those

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As Deaths Mount, Coronavirus Testing Remains Wildly Inconsistent In Long-Term Care

Mary Lanham’s assisted living complex in Florida tested all residents for COVID-19 — once in March and again in April — even though no one showed symptoms.

The preventive measure put her daughter’s mind at ease, since testing can detect the invisible enemy before it sickens, kills and spreads.

“We’re all struggling with this virus right now,” said Paula Lanham Hahn, whose 80-year-old mom lives at Dayspring Senior Living in Hilliard, a town near the Georgia border. “I’m sure families would feel a lot better if the residents were being tested everywhere.”

But they’re not.

At a nursing home across town, residents were tested for the coronavirus only after cases broke out. At another nearby facility, residents haven’t been tested.

On Monday,  the White House recommended all nursing home residents and staff members be tested over the next two weeks. Testing thus far, though, has been arbitrary.

As the coronavirus

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OSHA Probing Health Worker Deaths But Urges Inspectors To Spare The Penalties

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has in recent weeks launched investigations into deaths of workers at 34 health care employers across the U.S., federal records show, but former agency officials warn that the agency has already signaled it will only cite and fine the most flagrant violators.

The investigations come as health care workers have aired complaints on social media and to lawmakers about a lack of personal protective equipment, pressure to work while sick, and retaliation for voicing safety concerns as they have cared for more than 826,000 patients stricken by the coronavirus.

Despite those concerns, the nation’s top worker safety agency is not viewed as an advocate likely to rush to workers’ aid. President Donald Trump tapped a Labor Department leader who has represented corporations railing against the very agency he leads.

“It’s a worker safety crisis of monstrous proportions and OSHA is nowhere to be

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