Tens of thousands of nursing home residents have died of COVID-19 across the US and nearly all nursing homes are facing outbreaks, according to separate reports from NBC News and The Wall Street Journal. For months, nursing homes have ignored the warnings and now are witnessing the rapid spread of coronavirus among their elderly residents. The number of nursing homes with coronavirus cases is at least six times higher than the latest federal estimate. Nursing homes across the US are still struggling to contain outbreaks and are desperate for access to testing.
“The story is not about whether there’s COVID-19 in the nursing homes,” Scott LaRue, the chief executive of New York nursing home chain ArchCare, told the Times. “The story is, why aren’t they being treated with the same respect and the same resources that everyone else out there is? It’s ridiculous.”
Even in light of the new reports, the actual number of nursing homes facing COVID-19 outbreaks is unknown. At least 13 states refuse to track or share information with media outlets or regulatory agencies, including Florida, which has a high population of seniors, and was late implementing social distancing. Nursing homes have been hit especially hard by coronavirus in recent weeks, with cases increasing so rapidly that some nursing homeowners have instructed families to take their loved ones home if possible.