A Grave Mistake
Last updated 4/20/2020 at 12:28pm
People over the age of 65 are in one of the high-risk groups for becoming seriously ill or dying from COVID-19. Unfortunately, that is the only thing some people are hearing, which is leading some people below the age of 65 to assume that if they catch COVID-19 it will not be that harmful.
This is a risky assumption. There are other high-risk groups – people with heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, pulmonary diseases and asthma. While the probability of having these diseases increases with age, there are millions of Americans younger than 65 afflicted with these diseases.
For example, more than half of Americans who have heart disease are under 65. More than one-third of those with high blood pressure are under 60. Diabetes can be found across almost all age groups.
Because the focus of COVID-19’s severity appears to be on the elderly, too many Americans with these underlying conditions are not taking proper precautions. As a result, many of them are being hospitalized and some of them are dying.
Kenneth Thorpe, a professor of health policy at Emory University and chairman of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, recently wrote, “… many Americans who appear perfectly healthy actually fall within the high-risk group. The failure to internalize this fact has already led to avoidable tragedy. As of March 16, one in five people hospitalized due to COVID-19 were aged 20 to 44, and well over half were under the age of 65.”
Those figures should give everyone under 65 pause – half of those hospitalized for COVID-19 are under 65.
Yes, the elderly are at the greatest risk, but so are millions of Americans with harmful diseases that are not apparent to the naked eye. To assume that those under 65 should not be extremely precautious about COVID-19 is a mistake, a potentially grave one.