Less than one percent of Americans live in nursing homes, but this vulnerable population has made up about one-third of coronavirus deaths.
Of the 551,747 people in the U.S. who have died of COVID-19 so far, about 175,000 – 31.7 percent – were nursing home residents, according to an analysis from The COVID Tracking Project.
What’s more, the analysis also found that nearly one in 10 people who live in nursing facilities died from the virus as well as about one in 12 of those who live in long-term care facilities
However, experts say COVID-19 vaccinations, which rolled out in December and prioritizing nursing home residents, have helped dramatically drive down infections and deaths.
Declines in weekly coronavirus cases and fatalities in facilities are now far outpacing the rate of the general U.S. population U.S., in some instances by twice as much.
Less than 1% of Americans live in nursing homes, but the population has made by 31.7% of all coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S.
Weekly coronavirus deaths in nursing homes have decline by 93% since December 20, compared to 40% among the general U.S. population
From the earliest days of the pandemic, those living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities were among the most vulnerable populations.
Senior citizens in these centers were living in close quarters with multiple risk factors such as being older and having chronic conditions including high blood pressure and diabetes.
Additionally, the immune system weakens with age so it is often hard for the bodies of elderly patients to fight off viruses and other pathogens, in the first place.
This puts them not only at a higher risk of complications, but also hospitalization and death.
Some of the first deaths from COVID-19 occurred at the Life Care Center, a nursing facility in Kirkland, Washington.
Experts say COVID-19 vaccinations have helped dramatically drive down infections and deaths among nursing home residents. Pictured: Doctors and nurses take in a patient from a nursing home showing symptoms of COVID-19, in Yonkers, New York, April 20
Between February 19 and March 10, 26 of the nursing home’s 120 patients died, with at least 13 autopsies confirming that coronavirus was the cause.
Since then, the virus has reached at least 31,000 facilities throughout the nation, infecting more than 1.2 million residents and staff.
According to AARP, residents of long-term care facilities accounted 43 percent of all COVID-19 deaths through June, when the U.S. death toll sat at 126,000.
However, this trend changed after both Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine and Moderna’s vaccine were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December.
Nursing home residents and staff members were among the highest priority groups and, therefore, were among the first to be immunized.
The effects were seen as soon as January with both cases and death rapidly declining, much faster than seen on a nationwide scale.
Between December 20 and March 14, weekly coronavirus infections among nursing home residents have fallen from 33,592 to 927, a 97% drop
National weekly COVID-19 cases have fallen more slowly over the same time period from a sum of 1,507,588 to 381,549, a decline of 74%
Between December 20 and March 14, weekly infections among residents have fallen from 33,592 to 927, a 97 percent drop, a DailyMail.com analysis of federal data found.
By comparison, national cases have fallen from a weekly sum of 1,507,588 to 381,549 over the same time period a decline of 74 percent.
This means cases among nursing homes have fallen faster than the rate of the general population and are currently at their lowest point since May, when the federal government began tracking infections.
Meanwhile, weekly deaths among residents have fallen from 6,055 on December 20 to 393 on March 14, a decline of 93 percent, the analysis also found.
That is more than twice the rate of the U.S. as a whole, which has fallen just 40 percent from a weekly total of 18,150 deaths to 10,888.