The National Investment for Seniors Housing & Care has stated that skilled nursing facilities in the U.S. are one of the “safest places” for seniors. McKnight’s reports COVID-19 cases have drastically decreased in nursing homes since vaccinations began in December 2020. There has been a 98% decrease in reported cases and they account for only 0.3% of reported cases across the nation as of May.
In December, deaths in nursing homes due to COVID-19 accounted for approximately 74% of the deaths across the nation among seniors. In April, that percentage declined to only 28%.
Beth Burnham, chief economist and director of outreach at NIC, and Omar Zahraoui, data analyst, stated “the drop in nursing home cases has outstripped the drop in case counts amongst surrounding populations, which in some areas were on the rise, even as vaccines become more readily available.” The death rate of seniors over the age of 85 is higher among those not living in skilled nursing facilities.
The infection rates have also drastically decreased. Among 10,000 seniors in nursing homes tested for COVID-19, only six were reported as positive in mid-May. Comparatively speaking, in December 2020, 300 residents were positive out of 10,000 tested.
This data confirms the success of the vaccination program among nursing home residents. Mace and Zahraoui agree the “data clearly tracks with the nationwide effort to prioritize nursing home residents for vaccinations. Case counts began to steeply decline as the Pfizer, and then the Moderna vaccines began to be distributed to nursing homes across the country on December 20, 2020.”