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Coronavirus: why we need to keep protecting the over-70s


There is good reason for older people to stay isolated, even as lockdown lifts.

Marina Ezcurra, University of Kent.

As lockdowns ease and more people begin to leave their homes on a regular basis, there’s still one group that is often singled out as needing to remain isolated: people over the age of 70.

Many people who are in that age bracket but who are otherwise healthy might feel cooped up by ongoing instructions to stay indoors, and the policy of shielding elders has been criticised by some epidemiologists as being too harsh.

But the wealth of data we have on COVID-19 clearly shows that older people are at significantly increased risk of the disease, whether they are in care homes or living in private homes. And until we can tailor medicine to combat the effect of ageing on our immune systems, it makes sense to protect the over-70s as much as we can.

14 Replies

I am finding the situation more difficult , I must admit.

My social contacts pre Covid were limited to family and friends, friends being mostly over 70 . Being breathless I didn’t go out far.

But not being able to meet with my granddaughter for maybe 9 months is hard, seeing my adult daughters struggling with work commitments difficult too.

Seeing , on the news , people out and about at the beach, on protest marches, while I am limited to my back garden is hard, annoying even . I am lucky I have a garden , thousands haven’t .

I am lucky too there are three adults in the house, many live alone.

Is the idea of ‘ protection’ for my own sake or for the sake of others, I don’t know.

Am I being patronised?

How long before ‘ herd immunity’ is achieved without a vaccine, or how long before a vaccine is available.

If I lived alone I could meet with one other person outside, or go for a walk with a household member as I share a house.

But am I allowed to drive and look at another view apart from my neighbours wall and my trees....I don’t know ? Others can . Petrol? My MOT due in a few months ?

Did I contract the virus before lockdown....sore throat, headache etc, no testing then . Immunity test, how long does immunity last ?

How many years have I got left? A couple....twenty ....who knows.

Sorry to sound pessimistic , it’s been a breathless few days, but GP surgery has been helpful .

Onwards and upwards .

peege in reply to knitter

I agree knitter. Sorry you've had a bad few days, was it the high pollen? I had a couple of bad days Fri, Sat & Sun. My far away kids were ready to call 999 however many times I said its asthma.

It's pretty depressing for everyone over 70, a prison sentence. What about when wintertime comes, that'll be the end of having chats with a friend sat 2 metres away in the garden or street. P xxx

Bkin in reply to knitter

Sorry you are finding things so difficult Knitter, it would be even worse though if people did not shield and they all were infected with covid, with the possibility of a really high risk loss of life.

Hope you find other ways to see your grandaughter and keep in touch with friends and family, do you skype, viber, whats app maybe - zoom perhaps. Any of these can be live interaction between parties.

Things will change it will just take time. In the meantime, better to be well and safe with the options and choices we do have.

Tomorrow is another day - hope it is a better day for you.

Don-1931 in reply to knitter

MOT certificates have been extended by six months, so that's not a problem, yet. Breakdown cover needs to be comprehensive to cover all emergencies, including call out when at home. Petrol/diesel pumps have pay at the pump facilities, so make sure you know how to use them (u-tube?), there are a number of different ways. Pick a quiet day and wipe the nozzle before taking it up. Make sure you have a supply of masks and wipes with you in the car. Plan your route carefully, know exactly where you are going, always have your mobile phone, never get lost. Stay isolated inside your vehicle but give me a wave if you happen to see me. 😁😘

I'm 88 and live alone, except for Midge my dog, that is my version of staying sane during isolation.

Patk1 in reply to knitter

It must be v hard for you all.theres so much risk but if u can,perhaps u can go for a walk,at quiet time, and take a face covering.a change of scenery really helps along with exercise.or go 4 a drive,see the lambs growing, and nature at its may help,while still protecting yrself.your choice.weigh up the pros and cons in yr situation.stay safe xxx

I think all those in the at risk groups are going to face some hard decisions over the coming weeks. Do we stay in and protect ourselves or as my friend said he wants to start living again not existing in a comfortable prison.

Angelagone in reply to Badbessie

My feelings exactly. None of us are getting younger and I feel I want to make the most of whatever time I have, whether it's two years or twenty.

My wife and I are over 70 and I have COPD. We have been out in the car for a change of scenery and walk the dog. We have kept away from people and have only stopped where there weren't too many people. Our daughters bring our groceries and sit in our garden 4 metres away from us. Obviously if the weathers bad we wont becable to do this. We have only done this after being shielding for 11 weeks .

Bkin in reply to Pantani

The best option for now Pantani, to keep both you are your wife safe whilst at the same enjoying some out of the house time.

The other side of that is, if they were not protected in this way you can bet someone else will point the finger for neglect.

I think it is up to the shielded person to decide how much balance they need in their physical and mental health. It's worth remembering too that the majority of the shielded group would not die if they got the virus.

Wife and myself are over 70 hence we are isolating

However due to my recent cancer op and chemotherapy I am considered extremely vulnerable and therefore shielding. Wife decided to shielding alongside me. My children and grandchildren live within a few minutes drive and wouldn’t let us deviate from such, in effect they have grounded us


Angelagone in reply to R1100S1

I find, daughters are especially bossy. Mine call me moth-ah. As in ' oh no moth-ah, not a good idea '.

Try to remember it's not for ever....but the key word for me is 'balance' . It's a balance between my, and my family's mental, spiritual and physical health. There may come a point when I am less careful to save my sanity but of course I would be risking my life and possibly that of others.

Small risk, big consequences. It's just not easy and that's a challenge. However, we are well practiced at challenges.

Keep a routine, take one day at a time and use all support services going. Good luck.

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