Starting in late April, RealityChek reported a major characteristic of the CCP Virus’ impact on the United States with huge implications for the kinds of shutdown and reopening approaches have been pursued and supported by the federal government and individual states.
That characteristic: The wildly outsized share of U.S. virus deaths linked to nursing homes and similar facilities, among residents and employees alike. And the biggest implication: The high concentration of the worst of the CCP Virus problem in a relatively small number of locations among an especially vulnerable population strongly indicated that massive lockdowns of the entire economy and society were far from the best anti-virus strategies. The nursing homes-heavy nature of pandemic deaths also strengthened the argument that the overall damage from widepread lockdowns was exceeding their benefits, whether looking at the economy or public health, and especially both combined.
So since Americans have rightly become so worried about the recent rise in national virus infections and deaths – both in states that reopened relatively early, and in those that didn’t – it’s crucial to know that the nursing homes factor has grown steadily larger, at least according to one important source.
The nursing homes data for previous posts came from ABC News and The New York Times, and as RealityChek reported, as of late April, deaths related to these facilities amounted to about 20 percent of all virus fatalities (as reported by ABC). Three weeks later, the percentage was up to 35 (as reported by The Times). Just this past week, The Times updated its statistics and the share is up to at least 41 percent. (Exact certainty is impossible because the federal government doesn’t yet track these trends, and neither do some states. So the paper has assembled its own database.)
The state-by-state situation varies considerably in this incredibly diverse country. The state with the highest share of virus deaths linked to nursing homes is New Hampshire, at 81 percent. Nevada’s share is the lowest, at 17 percent, and The Times judged the information to be insufficient for six states: Wisconsin, Arizona, Alaska, Alabama, Hawaii, and Missouri.
Nonetheless, the phenomenon is widespread enough to result in nursing home-related deaths accounting for more than half of all CCP Virus-related deaths in 20 states.
And what’s especially interesting: Many of the states where deaths have climbed the most recently have been states with high percentages of nursing home deaths. Some leading examples: California (a nursing home death share of 41 percent), Florida (42 percent), Georgia (43 percent), Oregon (53 percent), Iowa (53 percent), Mississippi (42 percent), and North Carolina (47 percent). At the same time, Texas has seen deaths increase steadily since early July, and remain elevated, but a relatively small 31 percent of its total fatalities have been nursing home-related. (The overall death rate figures come from The Washington Post‘s tracking feature, which is the best for U.S. data that I’ve seen.)
One of my favorite expressions (and pieces of advice) holds that when everything is a priority, then othing is a priority. It’s easy to look at the immense nursing homes factor in America’s CCP Virus deaths picture, and the continuing popularity of sweeping lockdowns, and conclude that little of the country’s leadership is familiar with it.