Feb 11, 2021 - Health

The pandemic's racial disparities extend to nursing homes

Picture of a hallway in a nursing home with an elder person walking
Photo: Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Nursing homes with lower proportions of white residents saw higher coronavirus deaths last year, according to a new study published in JAMA Network Open.

By the numbers: In the facilities with the smallest share of white residents, coronavirus deaths were more than three times higher than in the nursing homes with the largest white populations.

  • Adjusting for the number of beds in each facility and for county-level COVID prevalence shrunk the gap between the groups.
  • But that just means that Americans of color are more likely to live in nursing homes at higher risk of worse outbreaks.

"Disparities in deaths by nursing home racial composition are associated with the disproportionately high spread of the disease in non-white communities and the characteristics of the nursing homes that serve those communities," the authors conclude.

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