By any measure, the coronavirus pandemic has been a terrible thing.

Let’s start with the fact that COVID-19 already has led thousands of people to early graves. And it looks as if many more deaths are on the horizon, I’m afraid.

Our nation’s economy also is taking it on the chops. As I write this, all the robust stock market gains seen during the Trump presidency have been completely wiped away, all in the matter of a few weeks. This comes as many states are prohibiting citizens from leaving the places where they live for all but essential purposes, possibly for months to come.

And in case you didn’t notice, the business of senior living and care is not exactly having a field day. The residents being cared for in your buildings are far and away the most likely people to suffer or die should they come in contact with COVID-19.

And if what we’re seeing happen to the stock prices of publicly traded eldercare firms is any indication, you probably are taking a real financial beating right about now.

There is yet another distressing thing happening as well: an increasingly nasty tone in many media reports.

Look, I don’t happen to believe in a deep state or that media outlets generally are out to publish fake news. The media have an obligation to report what is happening as fairly and truthfully as possible. And most organizations and their members are playing by the rules taught in J-schools. Most, but not all.

This week alone, I have seen stories make two very disturbing accusations:

  • Seniors housing and care facilities have been exposed for the lousy operators they are.
  • For-profit long-term care should not be allowed to exist.

Regarding the first point, yes, there are some bad operators out there. If we’re going to be brutally honest, more than a few. But that does not mean all are bad. To the contrary, most do a heroic job, considering the rules, workplace realities and oftentimes unrealistic expectations they are forced to deal with. Put another way, if the Trabant is a terrible car (which it certainly is), does that mean all cars are bad? Hardly.

Regarding the second point, are you kidding?

For those who think government-run healthcare is superior, I have three little initials I’d like to share: DMV.

As in Department of Motor Vehicles. Here in Illinois, we call it the secretary of state’s office. Turns out our office never bothered to make sure its drivers’ licenses actually complied with minimum federal standards. The feds put up with such nonsense for a long time. But Illinois apparently has run out of mulligans. Beginning Oct. 1, an Illinois driver’s license is not going to be considered a sufficient enough ID to let a person board a plane.

Is the state of Illinois apologizing for such glaring ineptitude and negligence? No, our state is going the PR route instead. They are spending gobs of money on a “Real ID” campaign. This encourages people with defective licenses (as in, well everyone) to go to the DMV office for 3 to 4 hours and re-apply for a driver’s license the feds won’t snicker at.

As the saying goes, your tax dollars at work.

If this is how well government officials handle something as basic as issuing a legitimate driver’s license, can you imagine how well they might take care of ventilator patients? Or follow DNR orders? Or handle resident transfers to and from hospitals?

I can’t, either.