You may have noticed that many of the coronavirus (COVID-19) cases are older adults. They may be especially vulnerable to the virus. But why, exactly?
Statistics on COVID-19 and the Elderly
Seniors are at a higher risk of serious illness and even death from the novel coronavirus. COVID-19 death rates indicate that about 13 percent of patients are ages 80 and older, in comparison to 1.25 percent in their 50s. For those who are in their 40s, that number declines to 0.3 percent.
The biggest change happens at age 70, according to a recent study. The research team at Imperial College London found that the number of fatalities among patients who were in their 70s was double that of patients in their 60s (8.6 percent and 4 percent respectfully).
These estimates make it important to ask why coronavirus appears to be more deadly for seniors than those who are younger. But it is not chronological age alone that puts someone at risk of COVID-19.
Factors that Contribute to COVID-19 Cases
More important than chronological age is having several chronic diseases and being frail. A person in this health condition at age 55 would be less likely to fight COVID-19 than someone who is healthy at age 80, for example.
But seniors are at a higher risk of coronavirus because of the way that the immune system changes as we age. It weakens over the years and, more specifically, there are fewer T cells than before, whose function is to fight viruses.
An older person, therefore, has fewer T cells to fight the coronavirus. Furthermore, they are slower to respond than they were in a younger person.
Residing in Nursing Homes
You may have also noticed the high presence of coronavirus in nursing homes. There are 67 different institutions in Los Angeles alone that have COVID-19 cases that County health officials are investigating. Those institutions include nursing homes and assisted living places.
Infection is a risk in these types of environments because the residents typically have several health conditions and are close to one another. Often, they share rooms, for example.
However, the facilities should already have a plan to fight infection and follow government-recommended guidelines to protect the health of residents and workers. If a certain facility is not taking proper precautions in the wake of COVID-19, legal action can be taken.
Ways for Seniors to Protect Themselves
These tips apply to those who live independently in their own homes. For senior citizens in home isolation, it’s important to take measures to protect themselves against the virus. Washing their hands thoroughly with soap and water is vital, as is social distancing.
Staying six feet from those who are not in their household can help to reduce their chances of getting the virus. Furthermore, go out to stores as infrequently as possible to lessen the chances of coming across anyone who is infected; this means stocking up on groceries and medications, when possible.
Conclusions on Seniors and COVID-19
Understanding why the elderly are susceptible to a coronavirus infection can help you to take measures to keep them out of harm’s way. For example, you could do the grocery shopping for them and drop the bags at their home’s entranceway to save them from going outside and coming in contact with people. Keeping seniors safe is more important than ever.