Federal health authorities have received reports of nearly 26,000 nursing home residents dying from COVID-19, according to materials prepared for the nation's governors. That number—a quarter of US coronavirus deaths—is partial and likely to go higher. A letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 60,000 cases of coronavirus illness among nursing home residents. A copy of the letter and an accompanying chart were provided to the AP. The numbers, which had been promised by the end of May, are partial. The letter said the data are based on reports received from about 80% of the nation's 15,400 nursing homes.
"This data, and anecdotal reports across the country, clearly show that nursing homes have been devastated by the virus,” wrote CDC Director Robert Redfield and CMS Administrator Seema Verma. CMS, which is responsible for nursing home quality standards, also told the governors it is increasing penalties for nursing homes failing to comply with longstanding infection control requirements. A federal watchdog report last month found a "persistent" pattern of infection control problems in nursing homes even before the coronavirus. The Government Accountability Office said that about 40% of the nursing homes inspected in each of the past two years were cited for problems with infection control and prevention.
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