More than 50,000 people have died from coronavirus-related illness at the country’s nursing homes for older adults, The New York Times reported Saturday.
The Times’s database collected data showing that coronavirus, or COVID-19, has infected more than 282,000 people at 12,000 facilities. Total deaths from such long-term facilities constitute roughly 43% of all COVID-19-related deaths, the paper reported.
Nursing homes constitute only 11% of all COVID-19 cases even though they account for nearly half of all deaths, data show. (RELATED: Watchdog Repeatedly Warned About Nursing Home Infections Before Pandemic Struck)
The Times compiled a database of coronavirus cases and deaths at nursing homes in the absence of comprehensive information from states. Some states regularly collect and release data on cases and deaths at nursing homes, as well as assisted-living facilities.
New York releases facility-level data on deaths but not about cases, while Wisconsin and Minnesota provide details on cases but not on deaths. Other states report practically nothing, the report showed. The Times based its data on official confirmation from states, along with the facilities themselves.
The data could be undercounted, the paper noted
The virus originated in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 before traveling across the globe, killing more than 300,000 people worldwide. It has reportedly resulted in the deaths of nearly 125,000 people in the United States.
A recent report has highlighted the degree to which regulators have been unable to monitor the country’s nursing homes.
More than 82% of the United States’ 15,500 nursing homes were cited for infection prevention and control deficiencies between 2013 and 2017, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) wrote in a blog post in May.
More than 40% of nursing homes were cited for infection prevention deficiencies in 2018 and 2019, the group’s review showed. State surveyors classified nearly every deficiency between 2013 and 2017 as “not severe,” resulting in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) taking action in only 1% of the deficiencies, according to the review.
Nearly half of all coronavirus-related deaths in Europe occurred in nursing homes, according to data the World Health Organization reported in April.
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