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Photo: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Nursing homes around the country are short on personal protective equipment like masks, eyewear and gowns, despite promises by the federal government to help, Kaiser Health News reports.

Why it matters: Nursing homes are extremely vulnerable to coronavirus outbreaks, and 43,000 residents have died over the last few months.

  • Personal protective gear is vital in ensuring the virus doesn't spread from one patient to another.

Between the lines: FEMA announced in May that it would be sending a 14-day supply of protective supplies to nearly 15,000 nursing homes around the nation, but some have yet to receive the first batch.

  • Some have received cloth masks instead of medical-grade ones, even though HHS says these masks aren't meant for caring for contagious patients.
  • FEMA officials told KHN that, as of June 4, packages had been shipped to 11,287 nursing homes.

By the numbers: During the last two weeks of May, 3,213 of the more than 15,000 nursing homes in the country reported that they had less than a week's supply of masks, gowns, gloves, eye protectors or hand sanitizer.

  • Of these facilities, 946 reported at least one confirmed coronavirus case since the pandemic started.
  • 653 skilled nursing facilities told the government that they had run out of at least one type of protective supply during this time period.

Go deeper: Controlling the coronavirus in nursing homes won't be easy

Go deeper

Updated Oct 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Booster shots overtake first doses in the U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate entire Brazilian city as part of study — FDA panel endorses shot of J&J booster for adultsU.S. to lift restrictions for fully vaccinated international travelers on Nov. 8.
  2. Health: New cases down, but the West is at risk — Low vaccination rates exacerbate America's caregiving crisis — COVID is here to stay. So what does "victory" look like? — FDA will review Merck COVID-19 pill.
  3. Politics: NHL announces all but four players have been vaccinated — WHO names new advisory group on COVID origins — Biden admin warns Moderna to "step up" global vaccine supply.
  4. Education: LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations amid staffing shortage — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive — Arizona can't use aid for anti-mask education grants, Treasury says.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Sep 18, 2020 - Health

CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people

CDC director Robert Redfield testifies at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Sept. 16. Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its previously revised guidance for coronavirus testing on Friday to say that testing asymptomatic people who were exposed to COVID-19 is recommended for treatment and contact tracing.

Why it matters: The CDC's modification in August to recommend against testing for asymptomatic people was not written by scientists and posted despite their "serious objections," New York Times first reported. CNN confirmed that the agency's update was published outside the agency's "normal review process."

Sep 18, 2020 - Health

Rep. Khanna: COVID-19 could change the perception of public health care

Rep. Khanna and Axios' Margaret Talev

The universal experience of COVID-19 could change how opponents view Medicare for All, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said at an Axios virtual event on Friday.

What they're saying: "The pandemic has reminded us of our shared humanity with other American citizens. It's no longer possible to think, 'Oh, we're not part of those who get sick.' Now almost everyone knows, unfortunately, someone who has been hospitalized, someone who had a serious bout with COVID," Khanna said.