February 28, 2020 was a memorable day for the staff and residents of the Maryland Baptist Aged Home. It was the day President Trump said that COVID-19 was a “hoax”.
By now, we know the markers for a COVID-19 outbreak in a senior’s home: residents with low incomes and members of a visible minority, along with staff working at multiple facilities, lack of personal protective equipment and poor sanitation practices. The Maryland Baptist Aged Home is located in a poor district in Baltimore, which has a crumbling infrastructure and a high crime rate. Yet, it has made headlines because it has not had a single case of COVID-19.
This remarkable achievement is attributed to several factors. The home’s director initiated safety procedures on February 28, the same day the President called COVID-19 a hoax. The Maryland Baptist Aged Home’s leadership also had the foresight, years earlier, to include an infection control expert in its staff team. The home’s staff have implemented safety practices when not at work, up to and including isolating themselves from their families. See more on this story in The Washington Post: In Baltimore, a struggling, black-owned nursing home keeps covid-19 at bay
The Maryland Baptist Aged Home experience demonstrates that a foundation of basic sanitation, good care and good food can go a long way to countering COVID-19’s negative effects for people with chronic health conditions, low incomes and members of visible minorities. This calls to mind a story in the Guardian, which discussed the idea that COVID-19 is itself the outcome of inequality.1 The evidence from the Maryland Baptist Aged Home suggests that when it is possible to practice social distancing and implement safe hygiene practices, it reduces the risk for people who should have been more likely to contract COVID-19.