COVID-19-related deaths in U.S. eldercare facilities have reached more than 50,000, according to a new report.
Calling its tally a “grim milestone,” the Wall Street Journal estimated that the fatalities account for 40% of approximately 116,000 COVID-19 deaths nationwide. Meanwhile, the number of infections among residents and staff has topped 250,000, the news outlet reported on Tuesday.
The actual counts in nursing homes are likely even higher, due in part to differences in states’ reporting, according to various sources.
New evidence confirms that older age and chronic illness are tied to COVID-19-related mortality. More than 66% of adults aged 70 years or older have an underlying condition that puts them at increased risk of severe disease if infected, write the authors of a study published Monday in The Lancet. That’s compared to 5% of people younger than 20 years.
In fact, death rates are 12 times higher for coronavirus patients with illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease than for those who do not report coexisting illness. That’s according to a new surveillance report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that also found hospitalizations to be six times higher for these patients.