“The drop in cases and deaths in nursing homes is welcome news,” said Lupe Wissel, AARP state director. “But the potential for the highly contagious Delta variant causing more harm to residents and staff is very real. We must do everything we can to keep residents and staff safe from the virus, which means encouraging everyone in long-term care facilities to get a free COVID vaccine to protect themselves, their family and their community.”
The vaccination gap between counties that voted for former President Trump in the 2020 election and those that voted for Biden has nearly doubled in less than two months. Texas, Missouri and Florida alone accounted for more than 40 percent of all new cases in July.
“We know that the main way that COVID gets into nursing homes is via the staff who live in the community. And may be exposed to the virus in the community. And so the fewer staff that are vaccinated, the more potential there is for a staff member to become infected, and … bring the virus into the nursing home,” said Ari Houser, a senior analyst at the AARP Public Policy Institute.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission allow employers to require workers to be vaccinated with religious or medical exemptions.