We've known for a long time that the elderly and those with co-morbidities are at greatly disproportionate risk of dying from this disease. That's not to discount the serious consequences for younger people who survive--it's simple fact.
Now we're learning that greatly disproportionate numbers of deaths are occurring specifically in nursing homes. Commenter Ray-SoCal linked an NPR article that states that of all deaths in New York state, 58% have occurred in nursing homes in NYC.
This seems to be happening widely, both in the US and abroad. Last week I quoted at length from Daniel Greenfield: Blue States Lied, Seniors Died. At that time Greenfield was stating that as many as 20% of deaths have occurred in nursing homes, and it's starting to look like it's far worse.
Also last week I read about the Swedish model, but didn't do a separate post. It appears that part of the "Swedish model" is to do very little testing (a fraction of the testing done in other countries, even the US) but establish a very strict criteria for establishing cause of death for Covid19 (deceased must have tested positive). Presumably to keep the official death count lower. Doctors at nursing homes in Sweden are complaining that they are being pressured not to run tests, but the word is getting out: deaths at nursing homes are epidemic. The top health official expresses himself as flummoxed, claiming that nursing homes were strictly locked down. Sorry about that.
TGP ran a post last night that sheds further light on what's going on:
Of course, that's 24 dead so far. You can be sure there will be more. It seems an asymptomatic maintenance worker infected patients. Also last week in Downstate Illinois 15 died at another nursing facility. Next of kin read about it in the newspaper before any official notification.
We knew early on from Washington state what the dangers were, but Blue States, well, couldn't be bothered? They were waiting for ventilators, that would kill the oldies anyway?
Here are a few more factoids from TGP that give a picture that is sure to become ever more clear:
Indiana is seeing a surge in cornavirus patients and deaths.
Like numerous other states and countries most of these new cases are in nursing homes.
One employee at the Symphony of Joliet Nursing Home in Illinois who was infected with coronavirus but was asymptomatic infected 40 nursing home patients.
At least 24 of the patients died at the home.￼
In Italy 40% of the coronavirus deaths were in nursing homes.
In New York State the law required officials to bring COVID-19 patients back to nursing homes.
43% of New Jersey deaths also involve nursing homes.
And in Minnesota and the UK they are seeing similar numbers.
This is not necessarily a racial thing, as NPR wants you to believe. Morris County, NJ--where 54% of deaths have been in nursing homes--is the most populous county in NJ, and it's 82% white. I know that in my own bucolic suburban community 15 people have died. All elderly, 12 over 80, all but one white, most believed to be in homes for the elderly or ill.
In my area the first deaths were all at nursing homes. That seems like a long time ago. At the time I said to my wife: I'll bet they're prioritizing tests for nursing home employees. Maybe I was wrong?
Again, it seems that this disease is not really spreading across the land like wildfire. Targeted precautionary measures, if taken, could be widely effective. If taken. You're not hearing much about this in the media, are you?
UPDATE 1: Julie Kelly has a comprehensive article that sketches out the national situation--so far as it's known. It's almost sure to be much worse.
Rather than focus on how to safeguard the most vulnerable among us, politicians have been preening for cable news cameras, blaming the president, halting the sale of vegetable seeds, and warning against small dinner parties in private homes. A tragedy, a failure, and a disgrace.
Here are some clusters of stats from her concluding paragraphs:
New York, sadly, is not an outlier. California and New Jersey issued similar orders. [Requiring nursing homes to take Covid patients.] According to New Jersey’s tracker, roughly 3,000 COVID-19 lab-confirmed or suspected deaths are tied to a long-term care facility—that’s half the Garden State’s total fatalities.
One-third of Illinois’ nearly 2,000 COVID-19 fatalities now are linked to long-term care facilities. Last week, Michigan officials claimed 2,218 of the state’s 3,085 COVID-19 decedents were nursing home residents. “Deaths at nursing homes and rest homes make up 56.3 percent of overall coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts as of Sunday,” the Boston Globe reported over the weekend.
In fact, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, at least half of the fatalities in five other states—Delaware, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Utah—are tied to long term care facilities. “COVID-19 has had a disproportionate effect on people who reside or work in long-term care facilities, including the 1.3 million individuals in nursing homes; 800,000 in assisted living facilities; 75,000 in intermediate care facilities; and 3 million people who work in skilled nursing or residential care facilities,” the April 23 report concludes.
UPDATE 2: In the two most often noted countries that tried to combine a quest for that elusive 'herd' immunity with very low levels of testing--the UK and Sweden--the death rates are heading inexorably higher. There are lots of statistical games going on here.
The thought does at least occur--could the real policy be, let the old people die? Even if they're not really that old?
UPDATE 3: Good overview from John Solomon's new outlet:
Staggering numbers shine light on lack of preparedness and drastic actions required to slow pandemic's toll at long-term care facilities.
Dr. Max Arella, a Quebec-based virologist and molecular biologist studying coronavirus for decades, told Just the News that in Canada some nursing homes have had 40% or more of their residents infected.
“From the start everyone was responding as if this were a normal influenza virus and with the aging population and underlying conditions whether it is diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or cancer patients it is hard to practice social distancing,” he said.
“Everyone failed from the start. The Chinese and the World Health Organization failed and even at the international, regional and national levels leaders failed,” he said. ”There are sometimes two or more people in one room so if a healthcare provider goes from bed to bed or the patients play cards the virus spreads. Not recognizing what this was and responding early was a major issue.”
There is an enormous percentage of our population now with "co-morbidities." Think of high blood pressure/hypertension alone. Obesity. We need clear thinking on this, not half baked theorizing. Calling something that isn't the flu "Wuhan flu" isn't a good way to start that discussion.