Nursing homes have continued to be a hotbed for spreading the novel coronavirus.
New data obtained by the Miami Herald reveals that nursing homes and assisted living facilities have accounted for one in every three coronavirus-related deaths in Florida. Nationally, about 20% of coronavirus deaths have been associated with nursing homes.
About 1.1 million Americans have been infected with coronavirus as of May 2, and more than 66,000 have died from the virus.
The Miami Herald reports that Governor Ron DeSantis had previously said the state’s nursing homes fared better than other states — but deaths have since accelerated to 444. Business Insider has reached out to the governor’s office for comment.
Nursing homes members are particularly susceptible due to overcrowding facilities and the greater likelihood of the elderly and those with weakened immune systems dying from the virus.
“They’re death pits,” Betsy McCaughey, a former lieutenant governor of New York, told The New York Times. “These nursing homes are already overwhelmed. They’re crowded and they’re understaffed. One Covid-positive patient in a nursing home produces carnage.”
Despite the rising deaths in nursing homes and assisted facilities, DeSantis has re-opened public beaches, retail stores and restaurants, and will end the state’s shelter-in-place order this week. The state reported more than 34,000 confirmed cases, last week saw a spike of 1,000 positive cases in 24 hours.
As the Miami Herland noted, Florida withheld information related to COVID-19 deaths throughout the pandemic. The state Department of Health stopped publishing data from the Florida medical examiner in late April, and in March the same department tried to hide official data from media inquiry.