Apr 18, 2020 - Health

Cuomo: Nursing homes are a "feeding frenzy" for coronavirus

In this image, Gov. Andrew Cuomo talks in front of a presentation screen
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo briefs reporters on April 17 in Albany, New York. Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images

"Nursing homes are the single biggest fear in all of this. Vulnerable people in one place. It is the feeding frenzy for this virus," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a press briefing on Saturday.

What's happening: Outside of inpatient health care settings, the CDC has recorded the largest chunk of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. emerging from nursing homes and long-term care facilities, per data released on Friday.

  • Adults aged 75 to 85 years and older account for most virus-related deaths tracked by the CDC.
  • Adults aged 65-74 years are also at a higher risk.

The big picture: Older people and those with underlying medical conditions, like diabetes and heart or lung disease, "seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19," the CDC warns.

  • Over 12,000 people have died in New York from the coronavirus, per the state health department.
  • Yes, but: New York City's health department is reporting 3,306 more fatalities than the state as a whole, due to newly added "probable deaths" that include patients with COVID-19 listed on their death certificate who did not test positive for the virus.

What he's saying: "Let's remember, nursing homes are privately run facilities, for the most part," Cuomo said of those in New York, emphasizing the city doesn't monitor details of how elderly care facilities decide communication or visitation policies amid the coronavirus.

  • "If there is a complaint that a nursing home is non-responsive, then we will go to that nursing home and follow up," Cuomo added.

Of note: The CDC's analysis of U.S. fatalities will improve over time, as more data is gathered. This data only represents information collected from February to April 11.

  • Deaths recorded by the CDC's national system rely on completed death certificates, which can take anywhere from 1 to 8 weeks to be fully processed.

Go deeper: At least 5,670 nursing home residents have died from coronavirus

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