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‘They’re Death Pits’: Virus Claims At Least 7,000 Lives in U.S. Nursing Homes

Posted by Nguyen Nga on April 20, 2020
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  • The first warning of the devastation that the coronavirus could wreak inside U.S. nursing homes came in late February, when residents of a facility in suburban Seattle perished, one by one, as families waited helplessly outside.

    In the ensuing six weeks, large and shockingly lethal outbreaks have continued to ravage nursing homes across the nation, undeterred by urgent new safety requirements. Now a nationwide tally by The New York Times has found the number of people living in or connected to nursing homes who have died of the coronavirus to be at least 7,000, far higher than previously known.

    In New Jersey, 17 bodies piled up in a nursing home morgue, and more than one-quarter of a Virginia home’s residents have died. At least 24 people at a facility in Maryland have died; more than 100 residents and workers have been infected at another in Kansas; and people have died in centers for military veterans in Florida, Nevada, New York, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington.

    On Friday, New York officials for the first time disclosed the names of 72 long-term care facilities that have had five or more deaths, including the Cobble Hill Health Center in Brooklyn, where 55 people have died. At least 14 nursing homes in New York City and its suburbs have recorded more than 25 coronavirus-related deaths. In New Jersey, officials revealed that infections have broken out in 394 long-term facilities — almost two-thirds of the state’s homes — and that more than 1,500 deaths were tied to nursing facilities.

    Overall, about one-fifth of deaths from the virus in the United States have been tied to nursing homes or other long-term care facilities, the Times review of cases shows. And more than 36,500 residents and employees across the nation have contracted it.

    In interviews with more than two dozen workers in long-term care facilities as well as family members of residents and health care experts, a portrait emerged of a system unequipped to handle the onslaught and disintegrating further amid the growing crisis.

    Story continues

    The first warning of the devastation that the coronavirus could wreak inside U.S. nursing homes came in late February, when residents of a facility in suburban Seattle perished, one by one, as families waited helplessly outside.

    In the ensuing six weeks, large and shockingly lethal outbreaks have continued to ravage nursing homes across the nation, undeterred by urgent new safety requirements. Now a nationwide tally by The New York Times has found the number of people living in or connected to nursing homes who have died of the coronavirus to be at least 7,000, far higher than previously known.

    In New Jersey, 17 bodies piled up in a nursing home morgue, and more than one-quarter of a Virginia home’s residents have died. At least 24 people at a facility in Maryland have died; more than 100 residents and workers have been infected at another in Kansas; and people have died in centers for military veterans in Florida, Nevada, New York, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington.

    On Friday, New York officials for the first time disclosed the names of 72 long-term care facilities that have had five or more deaths, including the Cobble Hill Health Center in Brooklyn, where 55 people have died. At least 14 nursing homes in New York City and its suburbs have recorded more than 25 coronavirus-related deaths. In New Jersey, officials revealed that infections have broken out in 394 long-term facilities — almost two-thirds of the state’s homes — and that more than 1,500 deaths were tied to nursing facilities.

    Overall, about one-fifth of deaths from the virus in the United States have been tied to nursing homes or other long-term care facilities, the Times review of cases shows. And more than 36,500 residents and employees across the nation have contracted it.

    In interviews with more than two dozen workers in long-term care facilities as well as family members of residents and health care experts, a portrait emerged of a system unequipped to handle the onslaught and disintegrating further amid the growing crisis.

    Story continues

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