In December, COVID-19 infections in prisons in the United States hit a record 25,000 in one week. Among correctional staff that month, there were an additional 5,000 new infections a week, leading to spread in surrounding communities.
More than 580,000 people at correctional institutions have been infected. The prisoner death toll has surpassed 2,000. Eleven months into the pandemic, the US prison system has not gotten control of its rising caseload, which is likely still underestimated.
One way to distinguish solitary confinement from COVID-19 quarantine is to give isolated people access to materials that help pass the time and keep them connected to others.