The coronavirus pandemic has had a horrific impact on care homes right across the world and last month, a report by academics at the London School of Economics found that 64 percent of all deaths in Norway occurred in such facilities, along with 57 percent in Canada and 49 percent in both Belgium and France. The same grim trend has manifested itself across the United States, particularly during initial stages of COVID-19's spread when the Life Care Center of Kirkland in Washington State become an early epicenter of the outbreak. Over three quarters of that home's residents contracted the coronavirus and 40 passed away. COVID-19 had spread to 163 long-term care facilities in Washington state by April 8 with 200 people dying.
Data from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows just how devastating the pandemic has been for elderly residents at U.S. care homes. As of May 21, 7,732 facilities in 43 states had known cases of COVID-19 with just under 175,000 recorded in total. At the same point, 35,118 deaths were linked to care facilities, 42 percent of total U.S. COVID-19-related deaths. Even though that percentage may seem shocking, it is nearly twice as high in some U.S. states. In Minnesota, 81 percent of all COVID-19 deaths have occurred in long-term care facilities, along with 78 percent of all deaths in Rhode Island and 77 percent of deaths in New Hampshire. The figure is 60 percent or higher in Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Mississippi.
Even though the data seems to suggest that the bulk of communities outside care homes are at a lower degree of risk from the virus, it is important to note that the trends mentioned above are not evident everywhere in the country. As of May 26, New York state had nearly 30,000 deaths but the share linked to care facilities is actually the lowest in the dataset at just 20 percent. The Kaiser Family Foundation states that the definition of a long-term care facility differs by state. The data reflects a combination of nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, adult care centers, intermediate care facilities, and/or other long-term care facilities.