One of the earliest coronavirus pandemic hotspots is seeing a rapid decline in cases and deaths that far [outpaces[ the U.S.: nursing homes.
Between late December and mid February, weekly infections among residents fell by nearly 90 percent – twice the rate as seen in the general population, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of federal data.
What’s more, as fatalities in the U.S. rose over the winter holidays, nursing home deaths declines by up to 75 percent.
Experts say COVID-19 vaccinations, which rolled out in December and prioritizing nursing home residents, played a large role int he dramatic drip
Some say the data shows that not only are the vaccines effective, but that the country could also seem massive improvements as more people become immunized.
Between December 20 and February 14, weekly coronavirus infections among nursing home residents fell from 33,621 to 3,505, nearly 90%
Comparatively, national cases have fallen from a weekly sum of 1.507,588 to 657,032 over the same time period, a decline of 58%
From the earliest days of the pandemic, those living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities were among the most vulnerable populations.
Senior citizens in these centers were living in close quarters with multiple risk factors such as being older and having chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Additionally, the immune system weakens with age so it is often hard for the bodies of elderly patients to fight off viruses and other pathogens in the first place.
This places them not only at a higher risk fo complications, but also hospitalization and death.
Some of the first deaths from COVID-19 occurred at the Life Care Center, a nursing facility in Kirkland, Washington.
Between February 19 and March 10, 26 of the nursing home’s 120 patients died, with at least 13 autopsies confirming that coronavirus was the cause.
Between late December and mid February, weekly deaths in nursing homes fell by 75% from 6,042 to 1,464
By comparison, fatalities rose cross the U.S. between late December and early February, before finally declining
Since then, the virus has reach at least 31,000 long-term care facilities throughout the nation, infecting more than 1.1 million residents and staff and killing more than 129,000.
According to AARP, residents of long-term care facilities account for less than one percent of the U.S. population, but 43 percent of all COVID-19 deaths through June.
However, this trend changed after both Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine and Moderna’s vaccine were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December.
Nursing home residents and staff members were among the highest priority groups and therefore were among the first to be immunized.
The effects were seen as soon as January with both cases and death rapidly declining, much faster than seen on a nationwide scale.
Between December 20 and February 14, weekly infections among residents fell from 33,621 to 3,505, nearly 90 percent.
Experts say the upswing is likely due to vaccine distribution of vaccines with at least three-quarters of residents receiving one dose. Pictured: CVS Pharmacist Gerard Diebner administers the COVID-19 vaccine to a nursing home resident at Harlem Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, a nursing home facility, in Harlem, January 15
By comparison, national cases have fallen from a weekly sum of 1.507,588 to 657,032 over the same time period a decline of 58 percent.
This means cases among nursing homes fell at nearly twice the rate of the general population and are currently at their lowest point since May, when the federal government began tracking infections.
For deaths, even as the number of fatalities surged to record-levels across the country, weekly deaths fell by 75 percent from 6,042 on December 20 to 1,464 on February 14
Experts say the upswing is likely due to vaccine distribution of vaccines with at least 75 percent receiving one dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
‘I’m almost at a loss for words at how amazing it is and how exciting,’ Dr David Gifford, chief medical officer for the American Health Care Association, told The New York Times.
‘If we are seeing a robust response with this vaccine with the elderly with a highly contagious disease,I think that’s a great sign for the rest of the population.’