A sick nursing home resident lies in bed

Despite nursing homes nationwide achieving record low COVID-19 deaths and cases, a leading resident advocacy group said the progress providers have made is still not enough. Leaders argued more can be done to lower the numbers. 

At the same time, the World Health Organization is urging leaders to remain cautious as countries begin to drop COVID-19 restrictions amid the decrease in cases and deaths. 

Data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a steady decline in U.S. nursing home cases and deaths among residents since re-peaking in late January. Nursing homes reported just 56 COVID-related deaths among residents during the week of April 10, and reported 78 and 89 deaths, respectively, for the two weeks prior. 

Providers also reported 1,379 cases among residents during the week of April 10 — a drop from the 1,244 and 1,337 cases, respectively, they reported the two weeks prior. 

But AARP, in a new analysis of federal nursing homes released Thursday, said it estimated that more than 1,000 residents and workers died of COVID during a four-week span ending March 20. 

“A thousand residents dying from COVID in just a month is still shocking to me,” Susan Reinhard, co-author of the analysis and senior vice president and director of the AARP Public Policy Institute, said Thursday. 

She called on long-term care facilities to keep the momentum going on vaccinations and boosters to keep bringing the COVID death and case counts lower. 

“It’s frustrating, because it’s somewhat fixable — with vaccines and boosters now available, those rates can and should be lower,” Reinhard said. 

Remain cautious 

Meanwhile, drastic decreases in COVID-19 deaths and cases have been seen all over the world, according to new data shared Tuesday by WHO. 

Weekly reported COVID-19 cases were just over 7 million, which is a 24% decline from last week. Weekly COVID-19 deaths also dropped to about 22,000 — an 18% drop from the prior week. 

The agency said the declines “should be interpreted with caution.” “This virus has over time become more transmissible and it remains deadly, especially for the unprotected and unvaccinated that don’t have access to healthcare and antivirals,” Tedros Adhanom Ghereyesus, WHO director-general, said Wednesday.