When the first American deaths were reported in Seattle nursing homes, I feared the worst. We knew that COVID-19 would most threaten the lives of seniors and people in congregate settings. With an average age of 83 for seniors in New York’s nursing homes, it should not have taken much for state officials to recognize the potential unfolding disaster before them that would heavily impact older residents and those who are Black and Latinx.
Now, months later, with thousands of senior lives lost, New York enters phases of reopening. But new coronavirus cases and deaths persist daily in New York nursing homes and long-term facilities, resulting in visitor restrictions. In the month of June, New Yorkers living in nursing homes represented a shocking 30 percent of total COVID-related deaths across the state.