Informations and abstract
Keywords: Covid-19 crisis, testing policy, care homes, Germany, Den- mark, Italy, Spain, England
This article reconstructs the role played by knowledge and diagnostic tools in the management of the Covid-19 crisis. We focus on the spread of the infection in care homes for older people occured in the first wave (February-May 2020) of the pandemic and the consequent huge amount of deaths occurred in such structures. The aim is to investigate the different capacity of European governments to prevent these facts and provide the residents in these structures with adequate protection. The testing strategies adopted for care homes in five European countries (Denmark, Germany, Italy, Spain and England) are therefore compared. The main hypothesis is that countries have initially relied on very limited knowledge on the spread of the virus in care homes, and that only an accurate testing strategy could allow an effective protection strategy. Comparing the countries, we found out that in some countries (England, Italy and Spain) testing in care homes has been strongly delayed and limited, paving the way for a weakened capacity to protect the residents and to limit the death toll. The paper finally shows that levels of knowledge and information about the impact of the pandemic on care homes are associated with different degrees of institutionalization and public legitimation of the care home system across countries.