The federal government’s first tally of nursing-home deaths from the coronavirus shows nearly 26,000 fatalities nationwide — and that doesn’t even include all of them, according to a new report.
A letter sent to state governors said at least 25,923 residents of nursing homes have been killed by COVID-19, ABC News reported.
In addition, at least 449 nursing home staffers have died of the disease, according to the Sunday letter from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The staggering toll accounts for more than one-quarter of the nation’s 104,702 coronavirus fatalities counted by Johns Hopkins University as of Monday afternoon.
But federal regulators acknowledged that their nursing home numbers don’t include data from some states prior to May, and potentially only account for about 80 percent of all facilities nationwide, ABC said.
The letter also notes that the federal numbers may be “inconsistent with state data, particularly state death data,” due to the different ways in which individual states track the coronavirus, ABC said.
According to the New York state Department of Health, there were 3,298 confirmed nursing home deaths from the coronavirus as of Sunday.
In addition, there were 2,646 deaths presumed to have been caused by COVID-19, for a total of 5,944, according to the official figures.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has faced widespread criticism for his handling of nursing homes amid the coronavirus crisis, including a controversial, March 25 directive from the state Department of Health that mandated they accept patients discharged from hospitals with the infection.
Cuomo — who reversed the order last month –has tried to pin the blame for the initial decision on guidance from President Trump’s administration.
In addition to providing an initial nationwide death toll, Sunday’s letter warned that the feds plan to crack down on improper infection-control measures at nursing homes by increasing inspections and fines, ABC said.
The total number of deaths cited in the letter is significantly lower than the 37,600 that ABC estimated earlier by conducting a mid-May analysis of reports from nursing homes and long-term care facilities in just 40 states and the District of Columbia.
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