Nursing Homes and Covid Fatalities: The Empirical Relationship

by Stephen C. Miller
The American Institute for Economic Research

In the search for strategies in dealing with Covid-19, policymakers have preferred broad-based interventions like curfews or business, school, and church closures in order to slow or stop the spread. In the argument over the consequences of these measures, a crucial question has been lost. Where precisely is the greatest risk of severe outcomes from contracting the virus? We’ve known from the beginning of the pandemic that SARS-CoV-2 disproportionately impacts the sick and aged, but what precisely does that imply about policy?

A particularly dangerous setting is Long Term Care Facilities (LTCs). LTCs account for over 100,000 Covid-19 deaths, almost 40% of the total in the United States. To better understand the variance in outcomes across the country, I looked at differences in state-level deaths per capita as reported by the COVID Tracking Project versus the number of LTC residents in each state.

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