How does COVID-19 affect different age groups?
While COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, can lead to hospitalization and even death for young and middle-aged adults, it has caused the most severe health issues for adults over the age of 60 — with particularly fatal results for those 80 years and older. This is due in no small part to the number of underlying health conditions present in older populations. Conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses can lead to more intense symptoms and complications in the disease. Additionally, as people age, their immune system gradually loses its resiliency, meaning that they are more susceptible to infection of any kind, especially a new one like COVID-19.
Regardless of age, there are precautions all of us should take: frequent, thorough handwashing, avoiding nonessential travel and large groups of people, and disinfecting frequently touched objects. One of the most crucial steps those over 60 can take, though, is to avoid visiting with grandchildren and other young people. Although children, especially those without underlying conditions, seem to be less affected by COVID-19 than other groups, they are still likely to be carriers of the disease. While their symptoms might look like the flu or common cold, there is every possibility that they could have COVID-19 and spread it to those around them. Even before people show symptoms, they can still be contagious, so it’s important for everyone to limit their contact with others so as to avoid spreading the virus to others without knowing it.
While limiting exposure in a pandemic can seem daunting, there are ways to do so and people willing to help. There are those taking on grocery shopping for vulnerable populations and finding other ways to support aging communities. Looking for local resources to support those vulnerable to COVID-19 can be a great way to limit exposure during this time.
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