Almost 2,500 nursing homes in 36 states are fighting coronavirus cases, a massive increase of 522% compared with federal data from just 10 days ago, NBC News reported.
Those numbers either indicate an explosive jump in the number of care facilities affected by the virus — or there’s been a drastic underestimation by the feds. The last federal estimate on March 30, based on “informal outreach” to state health departments, indicated that more than 400 nursing homes had at least one case of the virus.
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control is not yet keeping a formal tally of nursing home deaths from coronavirus despite pressure from Democratic lawmakers.
The actual number of nursing homes dealing with COVID-19-afflicted residents could be much higher, given that 14 states were unable or unwilling to disclose their figures — and that many nursing homes around the country do not yet have access to testing. States that did not reveal their data include Florida, Michigan and Ohio, all of which have been hit hard by the pandemic.
Of the 36 states that did reveal their data, New York was hardest hit. At least 452 nursing homes in the state have reported residents with COVID-19. More than 1,300 have died.
“It’s impossible to fight and contain this virus if we don’t know where it’s located,” said David Grabowski, a professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School.
More information-gathering and transparency could help protect against future outbreaks, he added. “You could see where it could be headed next.”
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