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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Coronavirus hotspots have seen a surge of new infections in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

Why it matters: Older and sicker people are at much higher risk for serious illness and death, and are at risk from these growing outbreaks despite efforts to protect elder-care facilities.

The big picture: One of the dominant narratives about the Sunbelt surge in new cases is that the infected population is younger, and therefore at less risk. But that’s not the whole story.

By the numbers: Over a 14 day-period ending July 10, new cases in long-term care facilities rose by 18 percent across the 23 hotspot states for which data are available.

  • Florida led the way with a 51% increase, and Texas saw a 47% increase within long-term care facilities. California's long-term care facilities experienced a 23% increase in new infections.
  • Arizona did not report this data.

These spikes almost certainly reflect significant community spread, as well as shortages of protective equipment within the facilities.

The bottom line: The lesson for long-term care facilities may be the same as the lesson for schools: There is no way to get a handle on coronavirus in one setting without first controlling community spread overall.

  • The data suggest that when the virus is spreading widely among younger people in fitness centers, or bars, or house parties, it’s going to find its way to older and more vulnerable people.

Go deeper

Oct 28, 2020 - World

Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" coronavirus wave

Paris under curfew. Photo: Kiran Ridley/Getty Images

The coronavirus is still winning: Now even Germany is entering another national lockdown, joined by France.

Why it matters: France has been "overpowered by a second wave,” President Emmanuel Macron said in a nationally televised address today. Macron said the "new wave will be stronger and deadlier" than the first.

Oct 28, 2020 - World

Germany goes back into lockdown

Photo: Fabrizio Bensch/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will enact one of Europe's strictest coronavirus lockdowns since spring, closing bars and restaurants nationwide for most of November, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Germany is the latest European country to reimpose some form of lockdown measures amid a surge in cases across the continent.

Oct 29, 2020 - World

Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing" and the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus for the achievement, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China