It's been three months since my family was able to pull our mother out of an assisted living facility here in New Jersey. COVID-19 hit less than two months after she moved in there, just as she was getting adjusted, making friends and feeling comfortable.

By early June, we had not been able to see our mom for almost three months. We spoke every day on the phone and it was agonizing. She would cry but tell us she was trying to be strong and that she understood we couldn't come in and see her. Prior to the lockdown, one of us would be there every day to visit and play cards with her and just talk. It is a beautiful place with very caring, dedicated staff and great residents.

All of that changed in late March, when visitors were banned and residents in the facility were confined to their rooms. The mental and emotional toll it has taken on these residents, their families and the staffs of our long-term care facilities has been devastating. In June, outdoor, in-person, socially distanced visits were finally permitted. But it's not the same for so many people longing for the simple touch of family and friends. Now, whenever there is a positive test, many of these facilities halt the visits and lock down again. Many of the positive tests are of asymptomatic residents, but "out an abundance of caution," the visits cease.

It's an obvious overreaction to what governors like Phil Murphy and Andrew Cuomo did early on in the pandemic, ordering COVID-19 positive patients out of hospitals and back into nursing homes and long-term care facilities to avoid hospital overcrowding. It proved to be deadly. The media continues to downplay or ignore that part of the story and it's what drives Murphy to continue to have such a hard line in his handling of the situation. Guilt is a powerful driver and guilt in the hands of a guilty, white, progressive governor is devastating, as we all well know.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis' own.

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