Although much of the nation’s focus has been on the surge of Covid-19 cases and deaths in New York and other large cities, the overlooked epicenter of the pandemic is our nation’s nursing homes, veterans’ homes, and other long-term care facilities. At the end of April, with data available from 30 states, in one-third of them more than 40% of the statewide Covid-19 deaths were in long-term care facilities.
The plight of the elderly in this pandemic should come as no surprise. This was expected from reports as the pandemic spread across the globe and from what unfolded in the King County, Washington, nursing home tragedy that began in late February.
Since then, we’ve heard similar stories from around the country. In Massachusetts, 103 veterans so far have died in two residential and long-term care facilities. In Illinois, hundreds of deaths due to Covid-19 have been reported by long-term care facilities. Nearly all nursing homes in New Jersey have reported at least one case. Should staff in these facilities be worried about whether they will have enough personal protective equipment to protect themselves each day?