As the confirmed U.S. death toll from the new coronavirus grew to more than 79,696 new data showed the pandemic’s devastating impact on nursing homes. New York state has recorded at least 4,813 confirmed and presumed deaths related to the coronavirus at nursing homes and adult-care facilities, including 71 confirmed fatalities at one facility, according to state data released Monday night. The number has grown quickly. An April 22 tally showed 3,505 deaths in the facilities statewide. The figures included confirmed cases and probable cases from some nursing homes.
Globally, the number of deaths rose past 254,000, with 3.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Experts caution that reported infection and death tolls world-wide underestimate the extent of the pandemic. In the U.S., 2,100 people were reported dead between 8 p.m. Monday and the same time Tuesday, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Johns Hopkins data, bringing the nation’s official death toll to 71,022. It was the largest number of daily deaths reported in nearly a week. In New York, the state had previously given data on nursing-home deaths it acknowledged were inconsistent. Some nursing homes reported deaths of people presumed to have the virus as well as confirmed cases; others didn’t. The new numbers reflect the state’s effort to have more comprehensive reporting that includes both confirmed and presumed cases.
Nursing homes have faced scrutiny for problems containing the spread of the virus. Those who run the facilities say health authorities have put a higher priority on helping hospitals get staff and with personal-protective equipment. State officials say they have sent hundreds of thousands of pieces of protective equipment to nursing homes. Advocates for nursing-home residents, however, have said many facilities were ill-prepared for the pandemic, and many are chronically understaffed. Experts say elderly residents of facilities are particularly vulnerable due to their age and the congregate nature of the living arrangements. In New Jersey, there have been 4,151 fatalities at long-term care facilities. Health officials are ramping up testing inside nursing homes to help curb the spread of the Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. Officials tested nearly 4,000 residents and health workers at 16 long-term care facilities in the southern part of the state. Nearly one in four residents and 10% of staff tested positive, Judith Persichilli, commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Health, said at a press conference Tuesday. –WSJ