The United States is looking toward reopening and getting back to business as usual (or at least a new form of usual). The number of coronavirus deaths and new cases is plateauing in many states. But there remains a lot of debate about how and when reopening should happen. Now, some sources believe that one statistic about coronavirus in nursing homes may hold the key to resolving the debate.
Statistics on Coronavirus Deaths Could Hold the Key Reopening U.S. Economy
New statistics from the Foundation for Research and Equal Opportunity show that 42 percent of coronavirus deaths are among nursing home residents and staff. The 2.1 million nursing home and assisted living facility residents in the U.S. represent 0.62 percent of the total population. That means that 42 percent of coronavirus deaths have occurred in facilities that house 0.62 percent of the population.
What this statistic suggests is that people who do not live in a nursing home may be less likely to contract coronavirus. The 99.4 percent of the U.S. population that is not living in long-term care facilities are also less likely to die from coronavirus infections. While it is difficult to imagine any kind of “silver lining” to this situation, researchers believe that this statistic could offer some hope for states as they reopen. Perhaps the general population is not as high risk as previously thought.
European Countries Reopen
Statistics in other parts of the world show similar trends in coronavirus deaths. In Europe, many countries report that the most serious illnesses or deaths are among the elderly and residents in long-term care facilities. This has led to several countries reopening primary and secondary schools under the idea that serious illnesses are concentrated in the elderly population.
Several European countries also never closed their schools or restaurants. Sweden and Germany are two prime examples. These countries now have consistently declining rates of coronavirus deaths. These examples are also helpful as the U.S. looks to reopen. Our government can look at what has and has not worked in other countries and use those experiences as a guide for our own.
By understanding who is most at risk and taking measures to prevent outbreaks, the U.S. can better prepare to reopen the economy. Focusing on the needs of the elderly and those living in long-term care facilities, and taking measured steps to reopen the general population, may be a successful strategy for creating what many are calling the “new normal” of society.
Could Nursing Home Coronavirus Deaths Have Been Prevented?
One of the most common questions related to coronavirus is could deaths in nursing homes have been prevented? In March 2020, Stanford epidemiologist John Ioannidis warned states that,
“Even some so-called mild or common-cold-type coronaviruses have been known for decades [to] have case fatality rates as high as 8% when they infect people in nursing homes.”
Were warnings like these ignored? Many people believe that they were. Furthermore, many people believe that nursing homes did not take adequate precautions early on in the coronavirus pandemic to prevent spread. Others believe that nursing homes ignored guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relating to social distancing, isolation and infection control.
There is also a lot of concern about nursing homes that accepted coronavirus patients being discharged from hospitals. States including Michigan, New Jersey and New York all ordered nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients. The initial idea was that placing these patients in nursing homes would relieve pressure on intensive care units (ICU).
Unfortunately, this resulted in outbreaks exposing thousands of people to the virus. The result is the rate of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes skyrocketing. In New Jersey, 10 percent of residents in long-term care facilities have died due to coronavirus.
Florida Sets Example for Protecting Nursing Home Residents
While there is no turning back the clock for the thousands of nursing home residents who have died from coronavirus, there is hope for protecting residents moving forward. Florida, which has a high population of elderly, is setting an example for how to protect nursing home residents and prevent significant outbreaks of coronavirus. Here are some of the things that Florida is doing right:
- Not requiring nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients.
- Restricting visits from friends and family members.
- Prioritizing long-term care facilities for personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Testing all nursing home residents and staff for active infections.
- Ensuring that nursing home staff works at a single facility at a time to avoid cross-contamination.
- Reporting the number of cases and coronavirus deaths accurately and in a timely manner.
These actions are things that all nursing homes should do during the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, many facilities have not completely followed these guidelines. The results of which are nothing short of disastrous for the elderly community.
Learn More about Coronavirus Deaths and Your Legal Rights
If you have lost a loved one in a nursing home due to coronavirus, you likely have many questions. Did they get proper care? Did the nursing home follow guidelines? Could my loved one’s death have been prevented? What can I do now?
These questions are all certainly reasonable given what your family is going through. At Nursing Home Abuse Center, we can help you find answers. Our attorneys are already helping families understand and protect their legal rights related to coronavirus deaths in nursing homes.
Families can hold nursing homes liable for negligence, abuse or neglect. The best way to find out if your loved one’s death was the result of negligence is to work with a nursing home abuse attorney who will thoroughly investigate your situation. If your loved one’s death is the result of negligence, then you may be able to pursue a coronavirus wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible.
To discuss your potential case, contact Nursing Home Abuse Center. Call us to request a free consultation at 1-866-548-9636. You can also email us through the form on our website.