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Investigation into state’s handling of nursing homes during pandemic is necessary

It has been well publicized how nursing homes and long-term care facilities were and continue to be among the most vulnerable places to COVID-19 outbreaks. Not only are the residents at these facilities mostly in the highest-risk age groups, many of them also have underlying medical conditions that make developing a severe case of COVID-19 much more likely.

Like many, we were dismayed to hear how some within the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf, including the governor himself, insisted that nursing homes would need to accept and keep people who were positive for COVID-19 so as to make sure hospital beds were available for the severely ill — as if that wouldn’t expose the very people most likely to die from the virus to the virus.

We also were taken aback by the blatant hypocrisy of others like former Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, who moved her own mother out of a nursing facility right around this same time.

That alone would be enough to warrant investigation by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. But given what has been going on in our neighbor to the north, New York — where it has come to light that Gov. Andrew Cuomo may have engaged in a cover-up by not accurately reporting the nursing home death toll in his state because he was afraid of being called out on it by former President Donald Trump — and that Wolf and Cuomo have shared many of the same policies, we think not only is an investigation warranted, but it is necessary.

On Wednesday, the Republicans in Pennsylvania’s delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to Shapiro calling on him to begin such an investigation into the Wolf administration’s handling of nursing homes during the pandemic. We support that wholeheartedly.

If Wolf or his administration was doing the same thing here that Cuomo is alleged to have been doing in New York (or worse), we deserve to know about it. If Wolf or his administration was doing anything else untoward, we deserve to know about it. If Wolf and his administration has been truthful about the nursing home situation, we deserve to know that, too.

We urge the state attorney general to either expose any wrongdoing or provide evidence that none has occurred.

The citizens of Pennsylvania deserve the truth. We hope Mr. Shapiro agrees.

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