U.S. senior citizens being devastated by COVID-19 – what’s being done to help?

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nexstar) — New healthcare research reveals that long-term care facilities — like nursing homes — make up a third of coronavirus deaths. In some states, they account for half.

Advocacy groups are calling on Congress to help older Americans in the next coronavirus relief package.

“It has been heartbreaking and gut-wrenching what we are seeing happening in nursing homes right now,” says Bill Sweeney of AARP.

Sweeney says for most states, at least a third of coronavirus deaths are in long-term care facilities.

“In some states, it is more than half of the deaths,” he adds.

And Sweeney says those numbers are only going to get worse. He says nursing home residents are on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19 — they are older and most of them already have chronic health problems.

Mark Parkinson with the American Health Care Association says all of the money Congress has appropriated so far has only helped hospitals.

He’s asking Congress for $10 billion dollars in the next coronavirus relief package to go specifically to assisted living facilities.

Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn says he’s working with his colleagues to make sure the next round of funding goes directly to seniors.

“It is older Americans, it is people with underlying chronic illness that are the most vulnerable, and so it makes sense to me to send—put the money where it is needed most,” says Cornyn.

The House could vote on the next round of coronavirus relief as early as Friday.

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