Here is an interesting report presenting a state-by-state count of nursing home mortality.
It shows that across all states, >53% of all COVID-19 related deaths are in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, with 15 states accounting for >60% of deaths, and 5 states >70% of deaths. It has also been observed that >50% of all COVID-19 related deaths in Europe are at nursing homes and long-term care facilities
This is staggering, and it is criminal that this has not been highlighted earlier for two reasons:
1. If >1/2 of the deaths are happening in specific, known settings, we should have been focusing
prevention and testing efforts in these locations.
In the scope of the trillions of dollars the USA has spent regarding this pandemic, a small fraction of that could have been given to these facilities to provide PPE and testing, and it would have been nice if hospitals would have taken these patients when they became infected.
It is especially shameful that states including NY and PA had directives that specifically forbid nursing homes and long term care facilities to require a negative SARS-CoV-2 test for readmission after being hospitalized for COVID-19 if they were deemed medically stable (presumably to open up hospital and ICU beds for other non-nursing home patients?), and reports of hospitals refusing to accept SARS-CoV-2 infected patients, leaving them no choice but to stay at their current facilities. Especially given that very few hospitals or ICUs have been completely overrun such as to require rationing of care, this looks especially bad. Thankfully Cuomo reversed this NY policy this week.
2. Lumping these deaths together with the others in the USA has obscured the true death rate
and kept people from accurately ascertaining the risks of this disease.
It is important for people not to point to low death rates and suggest this virus isn't a very serious concern -- it spreads super fast and is very dangerous to many who get sick -- but exaggerating death risks obscures an accurate assessment of the risks, which is important for people and policymakers to make informed decisions regarding viral management and mitigation.