8% or one in 12 residents in America’s long-term care facilities are now estimated to have died from the virus, according to The COVID Tracking Project.
The voluntary data tracking project – which ended its data collection last month – has revealed COVID deaths in nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities accounted for 34% of the country’s overall deaths during the period it tracked, despite less than 1% of the population living in these facilities.
“The residents of long-term-care facilities were by far the most vulnerable of all US populations throughout the pandemic’s first year – and they were not by any measure protected until vaccines finally began to reach them in late December, nearly 10 months after the first known outbreak of COVID-19 in a US long-term-care facility,” the Project concludes.
The toll is also likely to be higher, as the data does not include some deaths from the earliest part of the pandemic.
Federal US data on COVID-19 in nursing homes also only covers skilled nursing facilities – excluding the 800,000 people who live in assisted living facilities and similar residential care communities.
“Because of the historical deaths missing from both state and federal data, non-standard state reporting, and the absence of federal reporting requirements for assisted-living facilities and other forms of long-term-care facilities besides nursing homes, we believe that the true toll of the pandemic among these workers and especially residents is higher than these figures can show.”
The US has now recorded over 556,000 COVID deaths and 30.9 million cases.