The U.S. has seen a devastating number of deaths as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The country has, by far, the highest number of deaths: 128,103, which is more than double the country with the second highest number of deaths, Brazil, which has seen 58,385 lives lost to COVID-19. And, according to a new report from The New York Times, 43 percent of those deaths are linked to one particular environment: nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
The New York Times reports that at least 54,000 residents and employees of nursing homes and long-term care facilities have died from the coronavirus, accounting for 43 percent of total U.S. COVID-related deaths. “The country’s deadliest outbreaks have been largely in nursing homes, where older residents with underlying health problems are uniquely vulnerable to the virus,” reports The Times.
The Times investigated large outbreaks in nursing homes and found that about 17 percent of people with the coronavirus in a nursing home died, while about 5 percent of all known coronavirus patients meet the same fate.
The data The Times has compiled suggests that in 24 states, a majority of COVID-19 deaths are linked to nursing homes. And “in Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, more than three-quarters of all coronavirus deaths have been tied to long-term care facilities.”
The findings are very similar to a May report from the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP) that deduced that nursing homes and assisted living facilities account for 42 percent of COVID-19-related deaths in the country. “It is clear that the most underappreciated aspect of the novel coronavirus pandemic is its effect on a specific population of Americans: those living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities,” the authors state in the report.
Care of the elderly has become a much-discussed topic amid the pandemic. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo received rare criticism for sending thousands of recovering COVID-19 patients to nursing homes after signing an order designed to relieve pressure on hospitals. According to The Times data, in New York state, deaths in nursing homes and assisted living facilities account for 21 percent of overall fatalities due to the coronavirus.
In recent months, many people have been calling for reforms to make nursing homes safer for residents and employees. For example, a watchdog group in Massachusetts called the The Pioneer Institute recently sent a report to state leaders, calling for a series of reforms, including regular testing in senior care facilities and the appointment of a government official to oversee nursing homes’ responses to COVID-19, The Boston Globe reported. And for more updates on climbing COVID-19 cases, check out 5 States Where New Coronavirus Cases Doubled Last Week.