Almost Half of U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Are Happening in This One Place
These new depressing statistics about fatalities due to COVID-19 may surprise you.
You've read reports about how many coronavirus cases are cropping up in various states and cities across the country, but now, a new report highlights where exactly a huge percentage of people are dying from the coronavirus. The sad truth is, it's nursing homes and residential facilities. According to a new report from the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP), nursing homes and assisted living facilities account for 42 percent of COVID-19-related deaths.
Using coronavirus fatality reports as of May 22, FREOPP founders Gregg Girvan and Avik Roy assessed the reported deaths by state. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 2.1 million American citizens currently reside in nursing homes or assisted living facilities, representing 0.6 percent of the U.S. population. Yet, Girvan notes, "residents in such facilities account for 42 percent of all deaths from COVID-19, for states that report such statistics."
"It is clear that the most underappreciated aspect of the novel coronavirus pandemic is its effect on a specific population of Americans: those living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities," Girvan plainly states in the report.
Girvan and Roy found that the share of deaths occurring in nursing homes and assisted living facilities was highest in Minnesota, at 81 percent. Pennsylvania, Virginia, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Ohio, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Washington all saw rates above 60 percent.
Care of the elderly has become something of a political football amid the pandemic, particularly in New York state where an otherwise very popular Gov. Andrew Cuomo has received rare criticism for sending thousands of recovering COVID-19 patients to nursing homes. The government order designed to relieve pressure on hospitals could have led to lethal outbreaks in many New York assisted living facilities. According to Girvan and Roy's report, in New York state, deaths in nursing homes and assisted living facilities account for 13.8 percent of overall fatalities due to the coronavirus.
As states and municipalities wrangle with the region-specific economic and public health risks associated with reopening and emerging from lockdown, this data may inform decisions on how best to handle those most at risk from COVID-19. Our senior citizens are one of the most vulnerable to the coronavirus, and nursing homes need attention to prevent more deaths. However, others may see these findings as an argument for opening up the rest of our economy if the balance of the population is at much lower risk of contracting the coronavirus. And if you're worried about seniors in your life, check out 7 Silent Symptoms of Coronavirus Seniors Need to Know.