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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The Pandemic Continues to Pose Dangers for Older Americans

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to pose significant dangers to older Americans, with three-quarters of Covid deaths occurring in people over 65 and the greatest losses concentrated among those over 75. The majority of Covid deaths last month were among those aged 65 to 84 and those over 85, who accounted for approximately 90% of the nation’s Covid deaths. The demographics of the virus highlight the ongoing debate about the responsibility of those at lower risk from the virus to those at higher risk, such as older people and those with immunosuppression or chronic conditions.

As the pandemic wears on, older adults are becoming more vulnerable with the ending of mask and vaccination mandates, the closing of testing centers and vaccination clinics, and the scheduled expiration of the federal public health emergency in May. Only 40.8% of seniors have received a bivalent booster and many may find it difficult to locate vaccination sites, make appointments, and travel to the sites.

The Covid-19 costs for older people extend beyond the dangers of the virus, including limited activities, diminished lives, and ongoing isolation with its associated risks. Health care systems, pharmacies, and government agencies could start renewed vaccination campaigns in communities and nursing homes to help protect older people, but currently, public spaces are not accessible to those who are concerned about infection. The introduction of masks-required hours in public spaces, such as supermarkets, libraries, and museums, would help to protect older adults and reduce their risk of exposure to the virus.

Jonathan James
Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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