Nursing homes in New Jersey battle COVID-19 surge as hospitalizations and deaths caused by new variants jump across the US

Nursing home
New Jersey nursing homes are battling fresh COVID-19 outbreaks as new variants spread across the US.Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
  • New Jersey's nursing homes are battling COVID-19 once again as new variants spread through the US.

  • One in every four facilities has reported an outbreak over the past week, according to state data.

  • The surge comes with both hospitalizations and deaths from the virus steadily rising.

In New Jersey, elderly people are coming under threat from COVID-19 once again as new variants spread across the US.

One out of every four nursing homes and assisted living facilities there reported outbreaks of the virus last week, according to state health department data.

The latest figures show that 158 nursing homes are battling COVID-19 outbreaks across New Jersey, leading to 1,861 cases and 15 deaths among residents and staff.

On Friday, the Biden administration pledged to bring in new laws to prevent chronic understaffing in nursing homes.

A fact sheet on its proposed changes said that over 200,000 nursing home residents and workers had died from COVID-19, making up about one-fifth of the US's total death toll.

The spike in cases in New Jersey facilities comes with hospitalizations and deaths resulting from coronavirus ticking up nationwide.

The Eris variant has become the dominant strain, and accounts for over 20% of all US COVID-19 cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control – although it doesn't appear to make people any sicker than other existing strains.

Eris' symptoms seem similar to other variants' and include cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue.

Hospitalizations from the disease rose 19% and deaths jumped 18% in the most recent weeks for which data is available, per data from the CDC.

As well as nursing homes, some education bodies have struggled to contain the spread of the virus, with two districts in Kentucky and one in Texas shutting their schools down after a spike in cases.

The CDC doesn't expect to have to reintroduce mask mandates or update vaccine programs anytime soon despite the spread of COVID-19 across the US, with the group's director saying last month that she didn't expect Eris to drive any shift in policy.

"What we're seeing with the changes in the viruses, they're still susceptible to our vaccine, they're still susceptible to our medicines, they're still picked up by the tests," Dr. Mandy Cohen said in an interview on former Biden administration adviser Andy Slavitt's "In the Bubble" podcast on August 9.

"We're seeing small changes that are what I would call subtypes of what we've seen before."

Read the original article on Insider