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House Chairs Issue Statement on Federal Watchdog’s Report on Coronavirus in Nursing Homes

May 19, 2021
Press Release

Today, Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Rep. James E. Clyburn, Chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, Rep. Richard E. Neal, Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, and Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, issued the following statement after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report evaluating the spread of coronavirus in nursing homes across the United States:

“Today’s report further demonstrates that the Trump Administration’s inadequate response to the coronavirus pandemic placed our nation’s nursing home residents in grave danger and exacerbated the pandemic. Poor infection control protections, limited supplies of personal protective equipment, and staffing shortages allowed the coronavirus to rage and cost lives in nursing homes across the country.  

“We will continue working with the Biden-Harris Administration to ensure that the federal government better protects the American people, especially the most vulnerable, from the threat of the coronavirus and future public health emergencies.”

GAO’s report found that 94 percent of the nursing homes included in its review experienced more than one coronavirus outbreak between May 2020 and January 2021. Eighty-five percent of the nursing homes it reviewed experienced outbreaks lasting five weeks or longer, with the majority of long-duration outbreaks starting between October and December 2020.  

GAO also found that most nursing homes that experienced coronavirus outbreaks had received citations for infection prevention and control deficiencies in the years preceding the pandemic, and that shortages of personal protective equipment and staff increased the risk of coronavirus being introduced and spreading in nursing homes.