New York Times: To the Editor- Re “Workers Need 2 Tests a Week. But Who Pays?” (front page, June 10)

June 16, 2020
Editorial

It’s been nearly two months since Congress put $25 billion on President Trump’s desk to expand Covid-19 testing capacity and come up with a plan to support every state and cover every American. Yet after some 116,000 lives lost, at least 44,000 in our nursing homes, the president still does not have a plan.

Front-line nursing home workers — who are predominantly black, Latina and immigrant women already suffering from low wages and inadequate health care — are among the Americans paying the price for this failure of leadership. In one of the richest countries on earth, it is unforgivable that a person like Shikilia Davis, a nursing home aide, whom you feature, is being forced to travel around Long Island twice a week in search of a free test.

As an essential worker, she needs to be free to care for the vulnerable nursing home residents in her charge, not wondering which free site has the shortest line or whether her insurance company will pay the testing bill.

The only way to stop this virus running rampant in nursing homes is through testing, contact tracing and more testing. President Trump must stop finger-pointing at states and carry out a national, comprehensive testing strategy so that caregivers can protect their patients, as well as their lives and livelihoods, without being burdened by the cost of a Covid-19 test.

Jan Schakowsky
Evanston, Ill.
The writer, who represents Illinois’ Ninth Congressional District, is chair of the House Democratic Caucus Task Force on Aging and Families.