As of Friday evening, at least 55 coronavirus deaths occurred among people living in elder care facilities, though the number is probably higher because official counts often omit a description of the person’s last place of residence. That figure represented more than a quarter of U.S. deaths attributed to the pandemic, even though fewer than 1 percent of Americans live in care facilities.The dangers the coronavirus pose to older people have been well documented, and in a nursing home, the virus can move quickly from person to person and be particularly lethal.Indeed, in late February, an outbreak at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash., showed just how deadly the virus could be in such settings: At least 129 cases have been reported, and 35 people have died. After that outbreak, at another home in New Orleans, five people died this week.The Kirkland deaths, government and nursing home officials say, spurred their preparations. But as the recent surge in infections shows, some of the defenses may have been deployed too late to slow the virus, while others have been undermined by the same shortages that have constrained the U.S. response to the coronavirus.Some nursing homes are not requiring workers to

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