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Data: AHCA/NCAL, The COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The U.S. has gotten no better at keeping the coronavirus out of nursing homes.

Why it matters: The number of nursing home cases has consistently tracked closely with the number of cases in the broader community — and that's very bad news as overall cases continue to skyrocket.

By the numbers: There were more than 16,000 confirmed nursing home cases during the week of Nov. 15., according to a report by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living.

  • Nearly half of new nursing home cases that week were in the Midwest.
  • Cases nationally grew by more than 177% between mid-September and mid-November, mirroring the steady rise in caseloads overall.
  • Deaths are also rising, topping 2,000 that same week.

What they're saying: "Our worst fears have come true as COVID runs rampant among the general population, and long term care facilities are powerless to fully prevent it from entering due to its asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread," said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living.

  • "This level of COVID nationwide puts serious strain on our workforce, supplies, and testing capacity."

The bottom line: We're not going to control the pandemic in the general population, which means the virus will continue to find its way into nursing homes.

  • The only bright spot on the horizon for nursing home residents is that a vaccine will soon be available, and they'll be among the first people to receive it.

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

J&J says its one-shot vaccine is 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID

Photo: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that its single-shot coronavirus vaccine was 66% effective in protecting against moderate to severe COVID-19 disease in Phase 3 trials, which was comprised of nearly 44,000 participants across eight countries.

Between the lines: The vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S., but only 57% effective in South Africa, where a more contagious variant has been spreading. It prevented 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the company.