July 19, 2021
Source: AARP Official Website
COVID-19 Far From Over in Nursing Homes, Still Kills 800 a Month:
According to AARP, even though numbers cannot be compared to those from the winter peaks, nursing home deaths from Coronavirus remain over 800 per month between residents and staff members. Also, more than 10,000 are becoming newly infected every month
This number could be explained by the fact that less than half of nursing home workers got COVID shots in the first round, together with worker shortages and the recent relaxation of nursing home restrictions, among other things.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, more than 184,000 residents and staff of long-term care have died because of the virus, constituting almost a third of America´s entire death toll for COVID.
The death rate peak for infection and death rate happened in nursing homes last winter, when almost 20,000 residents and staff were reported dead from the virus, meaning 1 in every 51 residents died from the disease.
Right after the peak, infection and deaths began to drop more than 90 percent, with tougher restrictions, vaccination campaigns and immunity from previous high infection rates. Even though the situation has gotten better over the last few months, this should never be considered the “new normal”.
VISITATION RESTRICTIONS AND VACCINE INDECISION
Governments have asked nursing homes to loosen restrictions for visitors due to widespread vaccination and drop of infections, asking institutions to allow indoor visitors. The problem may be visitors could be exposing both residents and staff, particularly those who are not vaccinated.
Even if the staff who wanted to be vaccinated already are, the problem remains that nearly half of them have not received a shot in the first round, so while vaccination rates are still increasing, they are doing it at a much slower rate than earlier this year. This remains a problem due to the extremely close contact between staff and residents, which means more exposure than from visitors.
Another problem is the increasing shortage of staff in nursing homes, meaning that workers are more likely to be assigned to more residents to care for, and rising the possibility to spread the virus to more residents if a member of the staff is infected.
SO WHAT’S THE NEW NORMAL?
It wouldn’t be right to consider the current situation of COVID-19 as the new normal. Probably the virus will become a seasonal one, but the way to proceed is still being figured out by institutions.
If COVID is to be considered as normal as the flu, neither flu or COVID rates should be considered acceptable, control over them across the country should be better dealt with.