Sometimes, you just have to marvel at how bureaucracies work.
This is one of those times.
In the midst of the worst epidemic in more than a century – and with the country facing more deaths that it lost in total during its wars in Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan – the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) recently disciplined two state prisoners who were trying to protect themselves (and other prisoners) by wearing makeshift masks.
The first was a female prisoner at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility who had thoughtfully decided to cover her face while delivering food trays to other prisoners who had been quarantined because they had COVID-19 symptoms.
The second was a male prisoner at Shawangunk Correctional Facility who was suffering from COVID-19 symptoms – and wanted to minimize the chance that he would infect other prisoners at the facility.
According to the letter that the Legal Aid Society’s Prisoners Rights Project sent to Adam Silverman, the General Counsel for DOCCS on April 2nd, both prisoners had already been disciplined for violating the DOCCS rule that prohibits inmates from covering their faces.
“This is unconscionable” stated Stefen Short, a Legal Aid Society attorney, in the letter. “While we understand the rationale for the rule, there is no question it is dangerous and unreasonable to enforce the rule during this pandemic”.
But, true to form, DOCCS responded by defending its actions.
Per the statement that was released by DOCCS spokesperson Rachel Connors, “While there has been much discussion of the widespread use of face masks, our current policy follows CDC [Centers for Disease Control] and New York State Department of Health guidance as it pertains to their use”.
As of last Friday, DOCCS had confirmed 201 staff members and 36 prisoners who had contracted COVID-19.
The number of prisoners with the disease is likely much higher but because of the limited number of prisoners being tested, the number of confirmed cases for them is artificially low.
DOCCS has also logged three deaths that it believes are COVID-19-related: a civilian employee and two inmates. All three are awaiting confirmation by the County Medical Examiner.
The deceases prisoner is believed to be 55-year-old Juan Mosquero, who was serving his sentence at the infamous Sing Sing prison in Ossining, NY.
Multiple Coronavirus Virus Patients Placed on Naval Hospital Ship by Mistake
You’ve all seen the stories about the USNS Comfort, the 1,000-bed Naval hospital ship that has docked in New York City to treat non-coronavirus cases – thereby freeing up an equal number of beds for the expected onslaught of coronavirus patients over the next couple of weeks.
Sounds like a pretty sound plan, right?
At least it was until the New York City Department of Health (NYCDOH) transferred about a dozen patients last Friday to the Comfort before it got back the results of their coronavirus tests.
And guess how that turned out?
Yep, when the test results came back the next morning, several of the transferred patients were found to be infected with the coronavirus.
And so it was on Saturday that the patients who had tested positive were transferred back to regular hospital beds – and the crew on the USNS Comfort set about trying to re-disinfect the ship.
A NYCDOH spokesperson said that despite the obvious fuck-up, the virus-stricken patients only represented a “low risk” to the crew of the USNS Comfort: “We were prepared with a contingency plan in case we received patients that later tested positive. Immediately upon arrival, the patients were isolated while awaiting the test results”.
The people on the ship apparently thought it was a much bigger deal.
“We consider the USNS Comfort to be in a bubble”, said Medical Officer Captain Patrick Amersbach as he explained the procedures that the ship’s crew had followed in order to ensure it is not infected with the virus since it arrived in New York City.
Among other things, those procedures require the entire crew to remain on board throughout the ship’s deployment in New York City.
Stupidity Is Apparently Immune to the Coronavirus
There are countless other tales of people doing stupid things during the current pandemic.
Like the crowds of people who came to greet the arrival of the USNS Comfort – and even brought their young children along for the historic event.
Or the people who think drinking bleach will make you immune to the disease.
Or the idiots who held coronavirus parties so they could contract the disease sooner and get over it.
Or the college kids who went ahead with their “Spring Break” plans and gathered together on beaches throughout Florida.
Or the clowns who thought the disease was somehow related to Corona beer.
Or the pastors and parishioners who still defy “Stay-at-Home Orders” and continue to congregate together because they are confident that God will prevent them from getting infected.
Or the Arizona couple who decided to drink the liquid they used to clean their koi pond because it contained chloroquine, an anti-malaria drug that some – including President Trump – think may cure those who are infected with the coronavirus. The husband died the next day – but the wife recovered.
What Stupid Things Have You Observed Out There?
It has well-documented that Frank Report readers are spread out all over the world.
So, I’m guessing that many of you have your own tales of people doing things in the face of the coronavirus crisis.
And I’m not talking about hoarding toilet paper (I’m already down to 23 rolls – and starting to wish I had gone back to Walmart one more time last month while they still had some).
Or stupidly posting comments that encourage Frank Report readers to ignore the advice of medical professionals – and go about their lives like all the warnings about the dangers of the coronavirus are “fake news”.
No, I’m talking about really stupid things.
Like punishing prisoners for trying to protect themselves – and other inmates – in environments that are perfectly set-up to cause large outbreaks of COVID-19.
Or transferring patients to a non-coronavirus treatment ship just hours before you get their test results.
C’mon, Frank Report readers…
Let’s hear what you got.