WASHINGTON, DC – President Donald J. Trump confirmed on Wednesday what has been known for months about the COVID-19 virus. It is mainly affecting America’s aging population, especially those in nursing homes. In states like New York and New Jersey, where sick elderly patients were forced into nursing homes by Governors Phil Murphy and Andrew Cuomo, those states lead the nation in COVID-19 deaths.
“As discussed yesterday, the China virus poses the greatest threat to our senior citizens, as we all know. The median age for those who die from the virus is 78 years old, and nearly half of the deaths have occurred among those living in nursing homes or long-term care facilities. That’s really something,” Trump said. ” In other words, approximately half of the fatalities have occurred among less than 1 percent of the U.S. population. So think of that: less than 1 percent, half of the fatalities. So we know what to look for.”
Trump said from the beginning, his administration has made it top priority to shelter our seniors. In early March, Trump announced guidelines suspending all medically unnecessary visits to nursing homes and prioritized resources for those facilities. FEMA has sent shipments to many different locations of protective equipment, and it’s going directly to 15,400 Medicaid- and Medicare-certified nursing homes throughout the country.
The President also said HHS will be distributing an additional $5 billion from the Provider Relief Fund to all nursing homes. Nursing homes in higher-risk areas will be receiving more funding. This money can be used to address critical needs, including the hiring of additional staff, increasing testing, and providing technology support so residents can connect their families and they can connect to their families.
“They are having a tremendous time. They want to be with their loved ones. They can’t do it, so what we’re doing is we’re working it so that we can connect — have them connect with their families if they’re not able to visit,” Trump said.
The Trump administration is now identifying especially high-risk nursing homes and sharing that information with the governors so that the governors and their staffs can take appropriate action. We’re able to find — because of the testing programs and other means, we’re able to find certain areas that are very high-risk. The governors can then take action.
Additionally, CMS, CDC, and the U.S. Public Health Service are providing enhanced technical assistance and support, including visits to the highest-risk nursing homes. And that’s their priority right now: nursing homes, but the highest-risk nursing homes.