Calls for coronavirus advice to consider older people

Research finds current guidance on coronavirus ‘largely ignores’ older people.

Does COVID advice ignore seniors?

Current guidance on coronavirus ‘largely ignores’ those most at risk, according to an international group of global health experts.

Researchers have called for an age perspective on the implication for public health and clinical responses to be included explicitly in national and global planning on COVID-19, as well as the urgent formation of an expert group on older people to support with guidance and response to the virus.

In their editorial, Professor Peter Lloyd-Sherlock of the University of East Anglia and others note that the largest number of deaths will occur among older people in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). These countries contain 69 per cent of the global population aged 60 and over.

Prof. Lloyd-Sherlock said: “The global response to coronavirus must be directed towards those groups that will face the most devastating consequences. So far, this has not happened. We are facing an unprecedented and enormous wave of mortality among older people in these countries.”

In these situations the risk of infection for older people will be high because living arrangements are often cramped and overcrowded. Increasing numbers of older people in these countries live in nursing homes or similar facilities, where conditions are often poor and regulation weak.

Social distancing policies must consider the already precarious existence of many older people, researchers say, particularly those living alone or dependent on others for care and support. These people may face barriers to obtaining food and other essential supplies if quarantine conditions become more widespread.

As in high-income countries, the risk of dying from COVID-19 in low to middle income increases sharply with age and the vast majority of deaths observed are in people over 60, especially those with chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease.

The researchers add: “It will not be easy to deal with these problems, especially in settings where there is often weak public health infrastructure, a lack of gerontological expertise at all levels of the health system, and limited trust in government.

“However, a first step would be to recognise that these problems exist. A global expert group on older people should be formed to support with guidance and response to the virus in both residential facilities and home settings.

“As new knowledge emerges, this group can identify and evaluate cost effective therapies and interventions that respond to the particular needs of older people in LMICs living in challenging settings, where formal health service infrastructure is limited.

“Previously, some of the authors have argued that global health priority setting is institutionally ageist. Covid-19 offers an opportunity to prove us wrong.”

Are you worried that older people are being ignored by the current COVID-19 advice?

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COMMENTS

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KSS
16th Mar 2020
4:32pm
No not worried specifically. The actions so far would help protect the elderly. There are considerations already under way with regard to specific actions for aged care facilities and the like. Protections for the under 40s are the same protections for the over 60s. But it will take the individuals in contact with the oldies to implement them.
Brissiegirl
16th Mar 2020
4:36pm
I feel there is ample, hourly, daily advice to older people. What I do not understand is why researchers are unable to advise how long this virus lives on surfaces? I would also like to know how the wider community is supposed to feed itself properly when supermarket shelves appear to be permanently stripped of essential food and hygiene items. Perhaps governments State and Federal could issue an edict to all supermarkets and pharmacies regarding the fair, regular availability of necessities.
101
16th Mar 2020
4:53pm
It appears they are unable to advise on the virus life on surfaces because they don't know. I have read values ranging from 2 hours to over 12 hours. It seems it depends on the surface structure, temperature and humidity.
Arvo
16th Mar 2020
11:45pm
If they don't know then they haven't discovered a vaccine as claimed by a QLD University...perhaps they discovered the means of juicing the government out of R&D grants...to pay off their car lease and home mortgages but alas, no vaccine in sight for quite some time.
KSS
17th Mar 2020
7:01am
Arvo a vaccine is not administered to surfaces so the life time on any given surface is irrelevant to a vaccine. Life on a given surface depends on many things from the ambient humidity and temperature, the surface fabric and even the cleanliness of that surface.

FTI, there are two drugs currently under testing now for treatment use (both exisitng medications but used for different infections i.e. HIV and malaria) plus the QLD research team and their vaccine which is already being worked up by a manufacturer for testing. And the QLD team are just one of about 15 groups round the world working on the same thing; all sharing their knowledge and experience.

You clearly know very little about viruses or the science and required testing behind the development of vaccines before administering it to people.
KSS
17th Mar 2020
7:10am
Brissiegirl, there is no legislating for stupidity.

We do not have a shortage of any of the products currently on the panic buy list (TP, tissues, wipes, pasta and bottled sauce, rice, flour, sugar, tinned tuna and canned fruit all out of stock in my local supermarket), we have a distribution problem.

It is a supply chain issue because deliveries can't keep up with unreasonable demand - there are only so many trucks with limited capacity. If people just shopped normally there would be plenty of everything to go round.

In that panic buy list the only two things I buy are of course TP and tissues and not every week either manybe once a month! So what exactly are 'necessities'? The supermarkets have introduced one hour closed shopping for the elderly and disabled (and their cares I heard this morning) between 7am and 8am to ensure they do not have to compete with the selfish hoards stripping shelves unnecessarily. This is a great move by Woolworth and Coles.

Other than that, people could look out for their elderly or disabled neighbours and do thier shopping when you do your own. If we can do it during the bushfires, surely we can do it again now.
The D
16th Mar 2020
5:15pm
Who says they are not thinking about the elderly? Doctors in Italy say “patients over a certain age may be banned from intensive care units and left to die to give others a better chance of survival”. The Age12 March
Arvo
16th Mar 2020
11:48pm
That's OK...because in 30-40 years time it will be them who will be ignored and left to suffer a miserable death...just because they are too old to worry about..."What goes around,comes around"...fact of life !
Horace Cope
16th Mar 2020
5:30pm
"Are you worried that older people are being ignored by the current COVID-19 advice?"

No, the advice being put forward by the health committee and being acted on by government appears to cover all Australians without targetting any particular demographic.
porthboy
16th Mar 2020
6:25pm
Exactly!
porthboy
16th Mar 2020
6:25pm
Exactly!
Boomer
16th Mar 2020
6:38pm
It's bizarre that the biggest at-risk group is being largely ignored!
Arvo
16th Mar 2020
11:50pm
It's bizarre that you're still alive being a boomer. Few centuries ago people were lucky to live past 50.
pedro the swift
16th Mar 2020
6:55pm
If you want to believe the conspiracy theorists, this virus is well aimed at the elderly. many countries seemed be concerned about growing populations of older people becoming a drain on services etc.
Nice of that country up north to find a solution, what?
Arvo
16th Mar 2020
11:53pm
I'm sure, one country west of north is kicking itself now..."Why didn't we think of that immorality first" ?
ronloby
16th Mar 2020
7:12pm
Yes Pedro, that idea has crossed my mind several times lately. Seeing China has a large number of older residents along with some other countries like Italy and Spain it would be a way of reducing the burden on country finances if older people were to die.
ollie
16th Mar 2020
8:52pm
Are you implying that this is a manufactured virus china did away with its 1 child policy in 2013 could this be a way of getting rid of their oldies to keep the population down.Our government is complaining that pensioners are a burden on the economy would this give them ideas nothing would surprise me?
Arvo
16th Mar 2020
11:56pm
What do you think will be happening in the future century to control population growth in China and....India?
ChristineS
17th Mar 2020
12:29am
My mother's nursing home are going into partial lockdown as of today - only next of kin can visit, and must stay in resident's room, not in common areas. Hand sanitiser is everywhere already. Outside groups like entertainers, non-essential services, school groups are banned. No trips out to the shopping centres, restaurants etc.
VJ
17th Mar 2020
1:20pm
why don't we know as yet how long the virus lives on surfaces? 5 minutes, hour, what?
Sceptic
17th Mar 2020
2:55pm
This information was published days ago.
Sceptic
17th Mar 2020
2:51pm
The special opening hours for concession cardholders and the cessation of grocery deliveries are wrong moves. The opening hours cause the most vulnerable to gather in crowds.

If deliveries were confined to concession cardholders, and given priority to them for the items in short supply, it would allow the most vulnerable to self isolate more easily.

it would not be compulsory of course for them not to shop if they wished to do so, but sensibly, they could comfortably stay home and have their groceries and toiletries delivered without the disappointment of visiting a store to be faced with lack of goods. Their deliveries could have the goods that are subject to the selfish panic buying reserved for them.


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