When COVID-19 first reached America nearly a year ago, we knew very little about it — what it did, whom it affected most, or even whether human-to-human transmission was common. But one of the few things we knew for certain was that this virus — SARS-CoV-2, to use its technical name — was particularly dangerous to older Americans.

As early as March 18, the CDC was citing figures showing the vast majority of mortality from COVID-19 was among those 65 years and older, so nursing homes and the elderly should have been the main focus of our pandemic response since then.