70 Vets Dead From Virus at Nursing Home a Reminder Politicians Failed to Protect Those Most Vulnerable

70 Vets Dead From Virus at Nursing Home a Reminder Politicians Failed to Protect Those Most Vulnerable

Daniel Greenfield

I wrote earlier this week about the fact that the death toll from the pandemic has hit nursing homes hard, even while politicians did nothing. (And yes, I know you saw the Tucker Carlson segment, but it's not just Cuomo and New York, it's many blue states.)

Of the 4,377 coronavirus deaths in New Jersey, over 1,700 died due to infections in nursing homes. That nearly 40% of coronavirus deaths in one of the hardest hit states took place in nursing homes casts a stark light on the misplaced priorities of blue states battling the pandemic by locking down houses of worship and small businesses, while putting few to no resources into protecting nursing home residents.

New Jersey’s coronavirus deaths were part of the coronavirus outbreak in 425 nursing homes. At one nursing home, after an anonymous tip, police found 17 bodies being stored in a shed.

The article delves into New York, yes, but also Virginia, Illinois, Michigan, and California. Now we have a horrifying case out of Massachusets. 

Nearly 70 veterans have died of the coronavirus in a Massachusetts veterans care home — the deadliest known outbreak at a long-term care facility in the US.

So far 68 of the aging residents who recently died at the state-run Holyoke Soldiers’ Home have tested positive for COVID-19, with at least one other death potentially linked to the contagion, officials say.

Another 82 residents and 81 employees have tested positive — with a new death coming almost every day, according to the Boston Globe.

People have been speculating about whether some deaths are being wrongly attributed to the virus. It's possible. But death rates like these are not natural. 

Blue state pols failed to secure nursing homes and protect the most vulnerable residents from the outbreak. Instead badly run facilities moved staff back and forth, worsening the outbreak, and killing unknown numbers of nursing home residents. 

The old stats in my article suggested that nursing home fatalities amounted to 1 in 4 nationwide. But the numbers are partial and incomplete. And they continue being updated.

What is inescapably true is that politicians were far more concerned with using lockdowns to enhance their power than protecting vulnerable populations of senior citizens.

Here are some of the names of those lost.

When he came face to face 74 years ago with Baldur von Schirach, the organizer of the Hitler Youth movement, Emilio “Leo” DiPalma was, as he put it, “just a kid.” A kid from Springfield, Massachusetts. DiPalma, who had seen combat with the Army’s 79th Infantry Division returned home to Western Massachusetts to marry his beloved wife, Louise. Together, they raised a family of four daughters. He had a long career as a hoisting engineer in construction and was a volunteer firefighter in East Longmeadow.

Many of the dead were veterans of World War II, but the virus over the past weeks at the Soldiers’ Home has also taken the lives of veterans of Korea and Vietnam as well as those who served our country during times of peace. 

Navy veteran and retired Westfield Police Sgt. William C. Chandler, 80, who died on Thursday morning, was known as Mr. Nice Guy. On the occasion of his retirement back in 1995 after 32 years on the force, a fellow officer said, “He is probably one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He treats everybody well. He has a lot of compassion, and he’s got one of those even dispositions.” The Navy gave Chandler a trade as an electrician, and in retirement he taught at Westfield Vocational Academy.

Army veteran Francis Foley, of Chicopee, 82, who died on April 17, was a 50-year union carpenter who “above all…enjoyed spending time with his family and many friends.”

Michael J. Laviolette, of West Springfield, served as a medic with the Army National Guard and was 67 when he died on April 1. Retired since 2014, Laviolette “was a devout Catholic and always went out of his way to help others.”

A veteran of the Navy in 1965 and 1966, Dean C. Letourneau, of Turners Falls, was 74 when he died at the home on April 11. He had lived there since 2016.

Theodore A. “Ted” Kapinos, 91, of Hadley, served as a military police officer with the Army during the Korean War and went on to careers with the Massachusetts State Police and as director of security at the Springfield Library and Museum Association. He was a man who “lived life with gusto through his sense of humor and worldly philosophies.”

These men were obviously not young. We can't know when they might have died in the natural course of events. But if blue state governments had prioritized their lives, instead of their abuses of power, they might have lived for months or years.