By Barrier Free Japan
April 7 2021
The rise in the number of deaths from the coronavirus is largely due to cluster infections at nursing homes and other similar facilities, the Asahi Shimbun reported on April 5:
“The steep surge in deaths was caused largely by cluster infections at places with people more at risk of developing severe symptoms. Such outbreaks jumped fivefold at nursing homes and tripled at hospitals during the months since November compared with the numbers through the second wave of infections to October, the data showed.
In large cities, more than half of the COVID-19 patients who died contracted the virus through cluster infections at those facilities, according to the data.”
Data from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare demonstrated that by the end of March, there were 1,176 cases in which two or more people tested positive for the virus at the same nursing care facility. The comparable number for hospitals was 992.
In Tokyo, about 1,100 deaths were reported between January and March. Nearly 60 percent occurred at nursing care facilities and hospitals with approximately 10 percent at home.
Health officials are investigating the locations of the remaining 30 percent.
A similar trend was seen in Osaka Prefecture. Fifty-four percent of the deaths that occurred at nursing and medical facilities between Oct. 10 and March 25 resulted from cluster infections there.
A key reason behind the soaring number of the new cases in the third wave is the government’s failure to carry out widespread diagnostic testing of people who are most vulnerable.
In August, the government said it will “take full precautions against the virus to protect the elderly and people with underlying conditions.”
However, widespread tests aimed at detecting infections at an early stage were not conducted at those facilities.
Vaccinating elderly people begins on April 12.