Nursing homes can be dangerous to your health if you are over 60.

Until COVID-19 entered our lives, the real viral threat each year was seasonal influenza. Millions of people caught it each year regardless of vaccines. Thousands of people died from it. Or, in the new vernacular, died with seasonal flu. Nursing homes are the highest risk place for the elderly with pre-existing health problems.

People die of pneumonia, heart attack, cancer, stroke, etc. Whether seasonal flu brought it on, or COVID-19 brought it on, the result is that a person died of a specific reason. Politics is running rampant over many parts of our lives. Counting deaths is another one.

Old age and pre-existing health problems dominant the death references. Ninety-five percent of COVID-19 deaths are from people older than 60 years of age. On a quick side note, a local parish in our city is not allowing anyone over the age of 65 years to enter their church. They are checking IDs at the door. I think that is a smart move.

Back on the bandwagon, one-half of those deaths are from those people over the age of 80. These numbers come from the world-renowned World Health Organization from April 2020. Sweden is a renegade in the current turmoil of quarantines around the world. Ninety percent of COVID-19 deaths in Sweden are from those people over the age of 70.

I have been following the coronavirus since January. The early death rates were approximately 3-4% for those people in their 60s, 8% for those in their 70s, and 15% for those in their 80s. The numbers have not changed much. Nursing homes are the highest risk place for senior citizens to be during this pandemic.

The May 20th Worldometer death toll for the United States for COVID-19 is just under 95,000. I do not believe this number to be exclusively COVID-19 deaths. I believe there is a significant number of other deaths that are lumped into the COVID-19 with, or, from category.

Regardless, it is the number we have for tracking deaths related in any way, shape, or form to COVID-19. The New York Times recently announced that nearly 30,000 deaths were residents or workers in nursing homes. Sixty percent of all U. S. COVID-19 nursing home fatalities occurred in New York. Normally, we would expect about eleven percent of deaths in the United States from nursing homes.

In the United Kingdom, over half (53%) of the COVID-19 deaths are from nursing homes. Canada has 62%, France has 40-50%, Belgium has 53%, and Spain has 67%. Italy has forty percent but the article I read indicated that many more of the elderly did not live in nursing homes.

Ironically, many health care workers in nursing homes have asymptomatic cases of COVID-19. For example, Belgium reported 72% of their staff diagnosed with COVID-19. Moreover, 74% of the residents in nursing homes in Belgium have COVID-19 with no symptoms. It is a dangerous world to be treating those high-risk patients.

We see reports that a spike in new cases is just around the corner. Will COVID-19 be the dominant new seasonal influenza strain in 2020-21? Probably. It is a virus-like all the other seasonal viruses. Why would we expect it to be missing this winter?

We know that high-risk patients need more protection than the rest of us hearty stock of Americans (and other countries also). Herd immunity is one way we will work ourselves out of this current flurry of fear. I heard recently that we have one pandemic with two viruses. One virus is the coronavirus and the other is the fear virus. It is true!

Vaccines, whether this year or next, will not be the panacea most people are hoping for. Our best influenza vaccines are fifty percent effective on a good year. A newly developed coronavirus vaccine should be no different.

Protect those around you who are at higher risk and enjoy life. We cannot do much more!

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin –


One Response

  1. As your loved one’s cognitive, physical, and functional abilities gradually diminish over time, it’s easy to become overwhelmed, disheartened, and neglect your own health and well-being. 

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