Covid-19 deaths in care homes top 10,000 – but how did they happen?

Date: 
May, 2020
Country: 
United Kingdom (England)

Today we learnt that the number of deaths in care homes involving Covid-19 had topped 10,000 across the UK.

With the majority of those in care aged over 85, that amounts to almost a million years of life brought to a close by coronavirus.

And yet it happened in just a matter of weeks.

ITV News has been tracking the crisis in care right from the very start, when just a handful of Covid-19 cases had been reported across the UK.

Here, we draw together all of our reporting over the past two months to assess what went wrong.

In early March, just as the virus was spreading, so too was the panic in the care sector.

One provider joked to me at the time that the only PPE they’d seen was ‘poor preparation for the epidemic’.

It would prove to be a devastating description of reality.

On March 12th, we filmed with one domiciliary care company as they desperately scrambled for protective clothing.

Their regular suppliers had already run out, and with PPE diverted to the NHS, the manager was resorting to buying face masks and hand towels on Ebay.

Three weeks later, we returned. By now, the company was already treating residents with Covid-19.

Yet all they’d received from the government was 300 face masks, despite carrying out 24,000 visits a week.

They’d managed to buy some PPE of their own, at a cost of over £25,000.

But the manager was already at breaking point.

“We love what we do, we love our clients and we love our team, but it's such a fast moving situation that we don't feel in control”, she said.

“People really need to get behind us, not just the NHS.”

Source: itv