“When we look back on this in the years to come, I imagine there’s going to be a lot of Monday-morning quarterbacking around whether it was a good idea to blockade older adults in their nursing-home rooms for eight, nine, 10 months out of the year, without letting them have access to their families,” David Grabowski, a professor of health-care policy at Harvard Medical School, told me. “I think we’re going to look back and say, What the hell were we doing?” What we were doing was failing to save seniors’ lives or maintain their livelihoods…

A survey conducted by Altarum, a nonprofit health-care research and consulting group, found “drastic” reductions in social connections among nursing-home residents. Just 5 percent said they had visitors three times a week, compared with more than half before the virus hit. Nearly all said they did not leave their care facility for a meal or to go shopping, compared with 40 percent before COVID-19. Only one in four was going outside for fresh air. Half said they no longer had access to activities such as art classes or group exercise. Nearly 90 percent said they could no longer eat meals in the dining room. Two in three said they no longer left their rooms to socialize with their peers.