Is Ageism A Factor In The Fight Against COVID-19?

As residents and state officials across the country debate on if/when to lift orders and reopen businesses, some people are wondering if their opinions on the matter are even being considered.

“Am I the only one feeling like they’re ready to throw us out?” Sherman Oaks senior Bonnie Reed told the Los Angeles Times.

Reed says she believes the coronavirus pandemic has heightened ageism in her neighborhood, stating that she feels others have very little regard for her health as a senior resident. According to the CDC, about 80% of the confirmed COVID-19 deaths have been older adults.

According to Dilip Jeste, a geriatric psychiatrist at the UC San Diego Center for Healthy Aging, the "stigma [against elders] is growing."

“Anytime you mention the virus and risk, immediately people think of older adults," Jeste said. "They think of the people more likely to be hospitalized, to take up beds in the ICU.”

Some state officials are now debating if the health and survival of their senior residents is worth the risk, in order to save the American economy...

“If that’s the exchange, I’m all in," Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in late March.

Researchers from Yale University published a study in 2018 that found ageism could add up to $63 billion in additional annual healthcare costs. And just last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom faced criticism for advising hospitals to 'prioritize' younger adults, due to their longer life expectancy.

“The notion that creeps up from time to time, this pitting of generations against each other, is toxic and misguided,” L.A. geriatrician Scott Kaiser said of the announcement.

Read the full report on The Los Angeles Times.

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