Thomas Phillips lives in a nursing home in central New York. To pass the time, he's been writing letters from the inside to show what's really going on with the coronavirus crisis.

"I started letters from the inside because of the confinement, and to give a perspective of what's really going on," says Phillips. "I write what I know about and to stop the nursing home bashing. I’ll be damned if that was going to be the last word people heard. No one was gonna tell me what is happening in the homes unless they've been there."

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COVID-19 started hitting Phillip's nursing home, that he asked to keep private, in March. "We knew something was wrong, but we laughed it off," says Phillips. "When it came through the door, the administration was very good at telling us what was going on. But we could see the devastation when people starting dying. By the second or third week, residents who seemed ok passed the next day."

The coronavirus isn't just spreading through central New York nursing homes, it’s happening all across America. "All nursing homes are a breeding ground for the coronavirus due to the fact we are so close to each other," says Phillips. "But the staff here is cleaning everyday and residents are watched nonstop by human eyes and cameras."

Phillips says the staff isn't to blame for the outbreak. "The staff is doing all they can with what they have. And what we don’t have are enough nurses and aides. A wing of forty residents has one aide on the floor."

The homes also don't have enough protective equipment. "They knew this was coming," says Phillips. "You would think they would be more prepared. Just sending the PPE some homes need, would have helped."

Phillips has watched so many of his friends die from COVID-19. "It’s very sobering, and sad to see my friends, of all ages, taken so quickly. One always had to have Sam Cooke playing. There was the gum guy, just walking around offering sticks of gum. The lady, who would just wheel around for hour. And this last week I lost my scrabble opponent."

The good news is, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. "Little by little the tide is going out. Hopefully, we are coming to an end of this hell and we can get back to live entertainment, birthday parties, and walking around just to say hey."

READ MORE: Inspiring Stories From the Coronavirus Pandemic

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