The rate of cases to deaths from such facilities has been disproportionate: while only 11 percent of positive cases – around 282,000 – have occurred at nursing homes and long-term care facilities, about 43 percent of deaths – or 54,000 deaths – have come from the same, the New York Times reported.
The Times cited its database for the numbers, arguing that some states and the federal government have not provided comprehensive data. The numbers are based on “official confirmations from states, counties and the facilities themselves,” as well as some data provided by the federal government, the newspaper said.
According to the data, the states with the highest number of deaths in nursing homes were New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania – all of which recorded more than 4,000 deaths in nursing homes.
Nursing home populations are at higher risk for infection and death from the coronavirus, experts have said. Even as the average age of infected populations has shifted lower, the average age of death has shifted higher.
Individuals with underlying health conditions are especially susceptible to infection, and the likelihood of developing such conditions increases with age. Additionally, the virus spreads more easily in confined areas, and the concentration of residents helps the virus spread even faster.
At the state level, the difference is even more pronounced, with some states seeing care facility residents and workers account for half of all deaths from the virus.
The report surfaced as Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues to reject criticism for his nursing home policies during the pandemic. Early during the crisis, he required that nursing homes accept COVID-19 patients released from hospitals.
“I’ve taken political heat, OK. There’s facts and then there’s politics,” Cuomo said on “Meet the Press” Sunday.
“They are as safe – well, in this state we’re testing every week every nursing home employee,” he said. “So you could argue that they are safer than a senior citizen at home who is receiving care at home.
He then said that New York came up with its own plan, despite the CDC releasing a detailed plan for states to reopen in phases. Cuomo said the CDC’s guidelines were “vague” and that “I don’t even know what they meant.”
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.