As the coronavirus death toll continues to mount, older individuals are said to be at the greatest risk of serious outcomes, and now, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are advising senior citizens to take action, according to The Hill.
Nancy Messonnier serves as director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, and on Monday she warned, “The highest risk is those who are older and with underlying health conditions.”
“I think if you’re in one of those groups, separately or together, you need to be thinking towards what personal protections you want to take.”
Proactive measures advised
The “protections” being advised for the most vulnerable groups include having a sufficient level of supplies on hand should it become necessary for individuals to remain in their homes for an extended period of time.
“As the trajectory of the outbreak continues, many people in the U.S. will at some point in time this year or next be exposed to this virus, and there’s a good chance many will become sick,” Messonnier continued, adding, “The reason to stock up now is to kind of stick close to home.”
The Hill reported that Messonnier has given that same advice to her mother and father, both of whom are over 80 years old.
She also noted that evidence gleaned from Japan and South Korea suggests that 60 years of age is a significant threshhold in terms of the disease, with individuals older than that experiencing a significantly higher likelihood of developing serious complications if infection does occur.
Washington state hot zone
There were 28 coronavirus-related deaths in the United States as of Tuesday afternoon, with the bulk of those fatalities concentrated in a Washington state nursing home. Gov. Jay Inslee (D) recently announced that residential facilities of that type would be subject to a series of new regulations in the wake of the outbreak.
“The risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 appears to be higher in people 60 years or older and in those with chronic health conditions,” Inslee said in a statement.
“And we know there is an increased risk among people while live in congregated settings, such as long-term care facilities. We need to protect our older adults, and these rules will help,” the governor added.
The rules include restrictions on visitors, requirements related to the maintenance of visitor logs, and procedures for screening staff members for coronavirus symptoms at the beginning of each shift.
Inslee declared a state of emergency in Washington last month and directed agencies to utilize any and all necessary resources in preparation for and response to what he said “could likely be a world-wide pandemic.”