U.S. coronavirus deaths, Part One: The New York/nursing home angle

According to Worldometer, almost 25,000 of the approximately 68,000 deaths in the U.S. attributed to the Wuhan coronavirus have occurred in New York state. If one adds the death counts of the two other states with suburbs of New York City — New Jersey and Connecticut — just about half of the U.S. deaths are accounted for.

A great many of the remaining deaths occurred in nursing homes. I haven’t seen the recent nationwide percentage. However, according to this report “deaths at long-term care facilities now account for 44 percent, up from just over a third last week, of all coronavirus fatalities in the state [of Illinois].”

Similarly, “more than 40 percent of coronavirus-related deaths in Texas have been linked to nursing homes and assisted living centers — a spike from just 30 percent two weeks ago.” And in Minnesota, it has been reported that “80 percent of known COVID deaths take place in long-term care.”

If one factors out deaths in New York and the two states that surround New York City, and then factors out nursing home deaths using a 40 percent figure, the U.S. death count is in the neighborhood of 20,000.

I don’t mean to minimize the seriousness of this pandemic. New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey lives matter. So do the lives of people in nursing homes. And the loss of life among people outside of these categories continues to mount.

However, the pattern of coronavirus deaths has been evident for quite some time. It should have better informed the response to the pandemic. Had it done so, the nation would have adopted a more targeted, less blunderbuss response, and the U.S. economy would likely be in considerably better shape.

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