Whopping 63% of NC COVID-19 Deaths from Nursing Homes

The Laurels of Chatham, a skilled nursing facility in Pittsboro, was announced this past weekend to have 57 positive tests of COVID-19 among residents and staff.

RALEIGH – The way our elected leaders have approached the coronavirus pandemic has varied for myriad reasons, but uniform among them was the tendency to shutdown commerce and socialization across whole states. It was driven by fear, and that fear was driven by the notion that SARS-CoV2 was an unusually dangerous pathogen such that closing schools, and businesses, and issuing draconian controls over personal movements became justified in the eyes of many.

Yet, when we look at the real impact of the virus, we can see how misguide much of these policies were/are.

While the number of deaths in any given state is updated daily, and used as a measuring stick for how badly the coronavirus has spread through out a territory, about half of those deaths nationwide are in congregate living facilities (nursing homes).

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It’s 63 percent in North Carolina, according to data compiled by The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity.

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“Based on a new analysis of state-by-state COVID-19 fatality reports, it is clear that the most underappreciated aspect of the novel coronavirus pandemic is its effect on a specific population of Americans: those living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

The disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 affects the elderly far more severely, on average, than younger individuals.

But it turns out that among those who are elderly, deaths are concentrated even further among those living in long term care facilities. This has implications for both those who live in such facilities and those who don’t.”

What does that fact say about how Governor Roy Cooper has managed this crisis? His administration has been rightly focused on mitigating the risk to nursing homes, often specifically creating the most protective policies for such facilities.

At the same time, however, harsh and unconstitutional restrictions were levied on all the other low-risk populations. Cooper promoted a one-size-fits-all approach that was hardly appropriate for the different communities in North Carolina.

The nursing home fatalities suggest that restricting the freedoms of young healthy people through out the state was misguided, even from the perspective of a public health dictator.

The fact of COVID-19 deaths concentrating in nursing homes also changes the fear dynamic considerably. If that anxious and frightful friend you have knew that a large majority of deaths in our state have been among the very old and infirm in nursing homes, would they be suffering under the crushing weight of fear the media has helped produce?

Probably not. Actually, if this were better understood, the whole of North Carolina (the country?) might be a lot less willing to give up freedoms and livelihoods for some sense of security.

Check out more of the data and the rates of change here.

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