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Nearly half of all COVID-19 deaths in the United States are connected to nursing homes and long-term care centers, according to a new report from the New York Times.
The analysis found that there were more than 54,000 residents and workers at nursing homes and long-term care centers who have died from coronavirus-related illnesses. There were over 282,000 people infected at 12,000 senior facilities across the country. COVID-19 cases at nursing homes made up only 11% of all COVID-19 cases, but accounted for approximately 43% of the total U.S. deaths.
There were 24 states that had more than half of all COVID-19 deaths linked to nursing homes. New Hampshire was the highest at 80% of coronavirus deaths connected to long-term facilities, followed by Minnesota at 77%, Rhode Island at 77%, and Connecticut at 73%.
New York was only at 21%, but they have by far the most total coronavirus deaths in the U.S. with over 31,000 as of Sunday afternoon. New York has recorded the most coronavirus-related nursing home deaths with 6,250, followed by Massachusetts at 5,115, and Pennsylvania at 4,518. That’s compared to only 293 in New Hampshire and 715 in Rhode Island.
“I don’t know if we’ve gotten a full and correct accounting of how many people died of COVID-19 in nursing homes and how many nursing residents transferred to hospitals died of COVID,” state Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) told the New York Post.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the criticisms that he has received over the thousands of nursing home-related coronavirus deaths are politically-based. Cuomo appeared on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, where the Democratic governor dodged taking responsibility in nursing home fatalities.
“I’ve taken political heat, OK. There’s facts and then there’s politics,” Cuomo told NBC News’ Chuck Todd when asked if senior centers were safe.
Cuomo blamed the nursing home deaths in New York on “staff that got infected and brought it in.”
“But in New York, we’re No. 46 in the nation in terms of percentage of deaths at nursing homes compared to the total percentage. By the New York Times, we’re No. 46,” Cuomo said, referring to the New York Times report. “So, it’s been unfortunate. In every state, we have to do more. We have to figure it out, but if they want to point fingers, not at New York. We’re No. 46. You have 45 other states to point fingers at first.”
“They are as safe – well, in this state we’re testing every week every nursing home employee,” Cuomo told Todd. “So you could argue that they are safer than a senior citizen at home who is receiving care at home. The safest environment? My mother? Stay home, don’t see anyone. If you are at home and you have an aide coming in, that aide is not tested. In a nursing home, the staff is being tested once a week. And seniors do have to be careful, wherever they are.”
A report from the Associated Press in May found that more than 4,300 recovering COVID-19 patients were sent to nursing homes and long-term care facilities under Cuomo’s directive.
Cuomo’s directive on March 25, which was in place until it was rescinded on May 10, sent coronavirus-infected elderly patients who were discharged from hospitals to “New York’s already vulnerable nursing homes.”