Coronavirus Cases Rise Sharply in Prisons Even as They Plateau Nationwide
By Timothy Williams, Libby Seline and
Cases of the coronavirus in prisons and jails across the United States have soared in recent weeks, even as the overall daily infection rate in the nation has remained relatively flat.
The number of prison inmates known to be infected has doubled during the past month to more than 68,000. Prison deaths tied to the coronavirus have also risen, by 73 percent since mid-May. By now, the five largest known clusters of the virus in the United States are not at nursing homes or meatpacking plants, but inside correction institutions, according to data The New York Times has been collecting about confirmed coronavirus cases since the pandemic reached American shores.
And the risk of more cases appears imminent: The swift growth in virus cases behind bars comes as demonstrators arrested as part of large police brutality protests across the nation have often been placed in crowded holding cells in local jails.
A muddled, uneven response by corrections officials to testing and care for inmates and workers is complicating the spread of the coronavirus. In interviews, prison and jail officials acknowledged that their approach has largely been based on trial and error, and that an effective, consistent response for U.S. correctional facilities remains…….