Long-term care facilities account for 45% of U.S. deaths from COVID-19
(NaturalHealth365) As the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to come to light, one sobering statistic is spinning heads. According to nonprofit research data, the vast majority of Americans who have died with COVID-19 are nursing home residents or individuals suffering with unrelated life-threatening health problems.
As you know, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other long-term care institutions are predominantly home to older adults – a demographic already known for being more at-risk to infectious disease. So, did officials overlook a major area in their “containment” efforts that, had it been properly addressed, could have spared the livelihood of millions of Americans by preventing widespread economic shutdowns?
Nursing homes effectively used as a petri dish for COVID-19 thanks to misguided government decisions
If there’s any indication that United States officials flubbed the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s the fact that nursing home residents – which make up fewer than 1 percent of the country’s population – have accounted for 45 percent of COVID-19 related deaths so far.
The statistics come out of an analysis produced by the nonprofit group, The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP). According to a discussion about the study on Forbes.com, this figure could even be an understatement, primarily because many states like New York do not count the deaths of nursing home residents as “nursing home deaths” if the residents died after being sent to a hospital, despite contracting SARS-CoV-2 at their facility.
Other states are admitting to grim realities, too, with Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania reporting 50 to 70 percent of their states’ COVID-19 deaths occuring among nursing home residents.
The disturbing trend isn’t unique to the United States, either. According to Business Insider, about half of the COVID-19 deaths occurring in Europe were among older adults and other people institutionalized in long-term care facilities.
Critics blast public health officials for letting down the most vulnerable citizens inside long-term care facilities
Compounding the issue could be the way nursing homes were used by certain officials in a way that some say eerily resembles forced displacement tactics used by abusive governments of the past.
For example, the Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo received intense criticism for his decision to send more than 4,300 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 to nursing homes throughout the state, either as new admissions or as re-admissions following hospitalization. In understandable shock and frustration, family members and others scrutinized the move, which Cuomo claimed was an attempt to free up hospital beds.
By the way, the Governor’s executive order was terminated on May 10.
Why send people who are sick with a new and potentially deadly virus to be around people already known to be at greater risk for disease, disability, and death? Even worse, why send COVID-19 patients to facilities that have been previously cited for poor quality standards and infection control practices?
Yeah, we’re a bit stumped by these questions, too, and we can’t help but hear the term “sitting ducks” in our minds when we think about the mess Cuomo’s short-lived initiative may have created. The lack of dignity and respect for these nursing home residents and their family members is truly shameful.
Meanwhile, despite the vast majority of these deaths occurring in isolated environments, Americans at large have been absolutely derailed by massive economic shutdowns. This begs an important question:
If nursing homes around the United States had been better protected and supported, wouldn’t that have prevented more COVID-19 deaths and potentially curbed the need for a massive lockdown of the country?
Sources for this article include: