169,291 - That's how many more Medicare beneficiaries in long-term care facilities died in 2020 compared to 2019.

Officials say it is a 32% increase.

And of the 3.1 million Medicare beneficiaries in nursing homes, 40% of them had COVID-19 or likely had it.

All this information, gathered by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, paints a picture of the ravages of COVID-19, and those most vulnerable to it.

"We're incredibly sad for all of the loss of life and our hearts go out to the families who lost someone from COVID-19," said Lamont McClure, Northampton County Executive.

The same impacts were felt locally, as McClure says that 32% isn't too far off from the statistics here at home.

He believes it could have been avoided, had the right people stepped in at a critical time.

"It was so critical for the federal government to have a test that we could actually use and then give it to us, but they didn't," he noted. "It was so critical for them to let our nurses to use masks, but they didn't, and it led to that excess death you're talking about."

The report by the OIG concludes with the need for increased action to mitigate the effects of the ongoing pandemic and to avert recurrences.

McClure says the feds ought to be better prepared.

"There was also going to be excess death because it was a novel virus, but it didn't have to be as bad as it was, and that federal failure we're all going to have to live with for the rest of our lives," said McClure.

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