The number of people who have died of the coronavirus in the US has now topped 80,000, while the number of cases in the country hits 1.3 million.
On Sunday, the death toll reached 80,308, and it has been revealed nursing home residents and workers now account for a third of these fatalities.
A New York Times database shows that at least 25,600 residents and workers at US nursing homes or long-term care facilities for the elderly have died from coronavirus as of Saturday.
More than 143,000 people were infected with coronavirus at about 7,500 facilities, according to statistics gathered by the newspaper.
There are currently 1,356,650 cases of coronavirus in the U.S.
More than 25,600 nursing home residents or workers have died from coronavirus in the US, accounting for one-third of all coronavirus deaths in the country. Medical workers are seen attending to a patient outside Harlem Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Harlem
Medical workers wearing personal protective equipment wheel bodies to a refrigerated trailer serving as a makeshift morgue at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center
Long-term care facility deaths included those that occurred at assisted-living facilities, memory care facilities, retirement and senior communities and rehabilitation facilities.
So, although only 11 per cent of all US coronavirus cases have occurred at facilities for elderly residents, infections stemming from living or working at elderly-care locations accounted for 33 per cent of all coronavirus deaths.
An evaluation of state-by-state coronavirus infection and death statistics shows that fatalities of both residents and workers are responsible for more than half of 12 states’ total virus deaths.
In Massachusetts, there were 15,228 coronvirus cases reported at 466 nursing or long-term care facilities. Of that number, 2,739 people died, accounting for 58 per cent of the state’s overall death toll.
Although West Virginia had a relatively low 328 reported coronavirus cases at 27 elderly and long-term care facilities, the 43 deaths from the virus accounted for 81 per cent of the state’s total coronavirus deaths.
TOP TEN STATES FOR DEATHS AND CASES IN LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES
State Facilities Cases Deaths Share of state deaths
NY 412 5,292 5,292 20%
NJ 518 26,031 4,825 53%
MA 466 15,560 2,837 59%
PA 530 12,844 2,518 66%
CT 219 6,468 1,627 55%
IL 410 11,437 1,553 46%
CA 525 9,348 998 37%
MD 211 6,322 804 50%
LA 269 3,772 784 36%
GA 374 6,072 672 49%
–New York Times
Note: In New York, the state only reports the number of people who have died – not the amount of overall infections
The New York Times based these figures off of official confirmations obtained by states, counties and the facilities themselves, and are said to ‘almost certainly represent an undercount of the true’ death toll.
The newspaper’s statistics revealed that about 800 of 3,100 US counties have experienced at least one coronavirus case tied back to a long-term care facility for the elderly.
The elderly are considered high-risk for catching coronavirus and dying from complications associated with the virus, due to often having underlying health conditions.
Deaths of residents or workers at nursing homes and long-term care facilities in New York State – the epicenter of the US coronavirus outbreak – accounted for only 20 per cent of the overall death toll.
The New York Times’ analysis shows that 5,292 people were reported to have died from coronavirus across 414 facilities.
It’s unclear how many overall infections occurred at those facilities, however, as the state doesn’t report that figure, the newspaper said.
Nonetheless, New York State’s statistics account for more than a fifth of the 25,600 coronavirus deaths in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
The death toll at those New York State facilities has been increasing by an average of 20 to 25 deaths a day for the past few weeks, according to a count by the Associated Press.
New York State’s nursing home-related death toll – more than 5,000 – is one-fifth of the country’s overall number of deaths at nursing homes. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (on April 24) has been criticized over that number
‘The numbers, the deaths keep ticking up,’ said MaryDel Wypych, an advocate for older adults in the Rochester area. ‘It’s just very frustrating.’
The figures have resulted in New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo – who has won bipartisan praise for rallying supplies for his ravaged hospitals and helping slow the coronavirus – now coming under increasing criticism for not bringing that same level of commitment to a problem that has so far stymied him: nursing homes.
In part-lecture, part-cheerleading briefings that have made him a Democratic counter to President Donald Trump, Cuomo has often seemed dismissive and resigned to defeat when asked about his state leading the nation in nursing home deaths.
‘We´ve tried everything to keep it out of a nursing home, but it´s virtually impossible,’ Cuomo told reporters. ‘Now is not the best time to put your mother in a nursing home. That is a fact.’
Residents´ relatives, health care watchdogs and lawmakers from both parties cite problems with testing and transparency that have prevented officials – and the public – from grasping the full scale of the catastrophe.
On Sunday, Cuomo announced new protections for residents of nursing homes.
All nursing home staff must be tested twice a week for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and hospitals may not discharge any COVID-19 patient to a nursing home until the patient tests negative, he said.
If a nursing home cannot provide proper care, the patient must be transferred to the state, which he said has ample available hospital beds.
‘Our number one priority is protecting people in nursing homes,’ Cuomo said. ‘It’s where it (COVID-19) feeds.’