With almost 8 million people in long-term care facilities in the U.S. being either fully vaccinated or having received at least one-dose, one industry group characterizes nursing facilities as “currently the safest place to be” for older adults. While deaths and cases in long-term care facilities are at an all-time low, however, it remains that those facilities have accounted for over 1.4 million COVID-19 infections and almost 184,000 deaths since the pandemic began.
Within those long-term care facilities, the LAist reports, Black Americans and Latinos were unduly negatively impacted. According to the article, jointly written by reporters from the LAist, The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, and The Southern Illinoisan,
“Nursing homes where those groups make up a significant portion of the residents – no matter their location, no matter their size, no matter their government rating – have been twice as likely to get hit by the coronavirus as those where the population is overwhelmingly white.”
Racial disparities in long-term care existed before the pandemic. To put the issue of disparities in context, according to the article, 80 percent of our nation’s 1.3 million nursing home residents – just over 1 million people – are white. In nursing homes where at least 25 percent of the resident population are Black or Latino, however, more than 60 percent of those facilities reported at least one COVID-19 case, leading the journalists to conclude that “the race and ethnicity of the people living in the nursing home was a predictor of whether it was hit with COVID-19” and that the disease infected and “killed people of color at disproportionately high rates in the United States.”
The Center for Medicare Advocacy is committed to health equity and will continue to monitor and report issues on inequalities in our health care system.
June 10, 2021 – C. St. John
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC COVID Data Tracker. (Updated June 7, 2021). Available at: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations-ltc
 Mace, B. and Zahraoui, O. Nursing Homes Are Now Safe, But Data Raises Questions. (June 2, 2021). Senior Housing and Care. Available at: https://blog.nic.org/nursing-homes-are-now-safe-but-data-raises-questions
 Chidambaram, P. and Garfield, R. COVID-19 Long-Term Care Deaths and Cases Are at An All-Time Low, Though A Rise In LTC Cases In A Few States May Be Cause for Concern. (April 22, 2021). KFF. Available at: https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/covid-19-long-term-care-deaths-and-cases-are-at-an-all-time-low-though-a-rise-in-ltc-cases-in-a-few-states-may-be-cause-for-concern/
 KFF, State COVID-19 Data and Policy Actions. (June 3, 2021). Available at: https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/state-covid-19-data-and-policy-actions/#long-term-care-cases-deaths
 Gebeloff, R., Ivory, D., Richtel, M., Smith, M., Yourish, K., Dance, S., Fortiér, J., & Yu, E. The Striking Racial Divide In How COVID-19 Has Hit Nursing Homes. (June 7, 2021). LAist. Available at: https://laist.com/news/health/the-striking-racial-divide-in-how-covid-19-has-hit-nursing-homes