The Delta variant caused a spike in COVID-19 cases in nursing homes over the summer, leading to the highest number of deaths since the winter of 2021.
A new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found that more than 19,000 infections were reported in nursing homes in August, an increase of nearly 500 percent from the 3,200 observed the month before.
In addition, this led to nearly 1,700 virus-related fatalities, the highest figure since February.
The researchers say the analysis shows how the elderly are still the group most ‘disproportionately’ affected by Covid and how important it is to ensure all residents and staff are vaccinated to protect them from infection.
A new analysis found that more than 19,000 infections were reported among nursing home residents in August, a jump of nearly 500% from the 3,200 seen the month before. Pictured: Nursing home residents wait online to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at New York’s Harlem Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, January 2021
In addition, there were 1,759 COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, of which 1,658 were among residents, a 99% increase from the 317 deaths recorded in July and the highest number since February 2021 (above)
Nursing home residents, which are largely made up of elderly and frail Americans, were among the worst hit by the pandemic.
It is estimated that this group represents about one percent of the U.S. population but is responsible for 19.4 percent of all COVID-19 deaths with at least 136,000 fatalities to date.
When the vaccines were rolled out in December 2020, residents of long-term care facilities were among the first to be vaccinated.
As of Monday, an average of 84.5 percent of residents per facility have been vaccinated, government data shows.
Cases and deaths plummeted to record levels with fewer than 100 deaths per week in June 2021.
However, this changed after the Delta variety became the dominant strain in the US in late summer.
Originating in India, the variant is highly contagious and twice as transmissible as previous variants.
Older people, even if they have been vaccinated, are still highly susceptible because they have a weaker immune system that may not fully respond to the shots.
KFF’s analysis analyzed federal data and found that there were 48,778 cases in nursing homes in August — a 600 percent increase from July.
Of these, 19,150 were among residents and 29,628 among employees.
As boosters roll out and the fourth wave of the pandemic draws to a close, researchers say preliminary data from September will show declines (above)
There was also an increase in deaths with 1,759 recorded deaths, 1,658 of which were among residents.
This figure is a 99 percent increase from the 317 deaths recorded in July and the highest number since the 5,223 deaths reported in February.
“While recent coverage has focused heavily on the impact of the pandemic on children and unvaccinated adults, the pandemic continues to disproportionately affect older adults and people with disabilities,” the researchers wrote.
While the vast majority of COVID-19 deaths in July and August occurred outside nursing homes, the high rate of increase in nursing homes indicates that residents and staff in these environments are at risk of dying during the Delta wave, and are not immune to it. the most recent wave.’
However, as boosters roll out and the fourth wave of the pandemic draws to a close, preliminary data from September may show a decline.
Vaccinations combined with boosters could reverse the recent trend of rising cases and deaths in nursing homes, although the continued spread in the community continues to have an impact on residents and staff, the researchers added.