Florida nursing home deaths spike but lower than U.S. average

Deaths in Florida’s nursing homes doubled during the Thanksgiving holiday, according to statistics gathered by the AARP. But Florida’s rate was dramatically lower than the national average, as COVID-19 infections across the country surged.

Still, the rise in deaths drew concern from advocates also worried about gatherings over Christmas and other yearend celebrations.

In the three weeks straddling the Thanksgiving holiday, the rate of deaths in Florida nursing homes was 4.7 for every 1,000 residents — more than double the 2.3-death average recorded in the four weeks leading into the holiday. The data was partly culled from statistics generated by the Centers for Disease Control. Nationally, the death rate over the holiday period was 15.3 deaths per 1,000.

“There is nothing to celebrate. The national average is a catastrophe,” said Dave Bruns, the spokesperson for AARP Florida.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has made it a priority to protect the state’s elderly. Florida has one of the country’s largest concentrations of seniors. He emphasized that point Tuesday during a news conference in The Villages, Florida’s largest retirement community.

“We are not going to put young, healthy workers ahead of our elderly population,” DeSantis said, criticizing a proposal

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