Updated report: Mortality associated with COVID-19 outbreaks in care homes: early international evidence

Adelina Comas-Herrera, Joseba Zalakaín, Charles Litwin, Amy T. Hsu, Natasha Lane and Jose-Luis Fernández

3rd May 2020

The international report on deaths linked to COVID-19 among care home residents has now been updated:

Key findings:

  • Official data on the numbers of deaths among care home residents linked to COVID-19 is not available in many countries but an increasing number of countries are publishing data
  • Due to differences in testing availabilities and policies, and to different approaches to recording deaths, international comparisons are difficult
  • There are three main approaches to quantifying deaths in relation to COVID-19: deaths of people who test positive (before or after their death), deaths of people suspected to have COVID-19 (based on symptoms), and excess deaths (comparing total number of deaths with those in the same weeks in previous years)
  • Official data from 13 countries suggests that the share of care home residents whose deaths are linked to COVID-19 tends to be lower in countries where there have been fewer deaths in total
  • There have been no infections or deaths in care homes in Hong Kong (only 4 deaths in total and 1,040 cases of infections in the total population) and in Singapore 2 out of 18 deaths have been among care home residents
  • In the other countries where there have been at least 100 deaths in total and we have official data (Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel and Norway), the % of COVID-related deaths among care home residents ranges from 19% in Hungary to 62% in Canada)
  • Data for Germany suggests that 36% of deaths would have happened in communal establishments which, as well as care homes, also include prisons and other group living settings
  • There have been large numbers of deaths in care homes in Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States but official data for these countries is either incomplete or difficult to interpret.

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