The U.S. death toll from Covid-19 in nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities has topped 50,000, marking a grim milestone in a pandemic that is taking a heavy toll on the oldest and most vulnerable people, state data show.
A Wall Street Journal tally of counts from around the U.S. also shows more than 250,000 novel coronavirus infection cases among residents and staffers at long-term-care facilities, along with 50,919 deaths. Measured against the overall count of more than 116,000 Covid-19 deaths in the U.S., compiled by Johns Hopkins University, buildings meant to house and care for seniors are linked to more than 40% of pandemic’s deaths in the U.S. thus far.
The true toll of cases in long-term-care facilities is likely higher because of reporting lags and differences in how states report. New York, for example, doesn’t include cases in which nursing-home residents died in a hospital, to avoid the risk of double-counting, but many states do include hospital-based deaths in their nursing-home statistics.
Some states aren’t reporting cumulative data, but instead provide snapshots of current outbreaks, making it harder to see the overall impact the pandemic has had. Some still report little data; Arizona, for example, is reporting the number of facilities with cases, but not the number cases and deaths.
Other states have released more data to show the impact on elder-care sites. Michigan, for example, released new data Monday from what it said was a revamped data-collection process, and that showed 1,967 Covid-19 nursing-facility deaths.
The Midwest state, which previously reported 1,505 deaths as of June 4, said a phone campaign by its Health and Human Services Department helped boost data reporting by nursing homes.