If it’s any consolation, in the US, the country which leads the global tally of coronavirus cases at 26.6 million and deaths at 451,000, as of Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, “the demographics of who dies from the disease has not changed” since it was first detected there in January last year.
According to Dr. Thomas Holland of Duke University, the hardest hit sectors continue to be the elderly, accounting for eight out of 10 deaths based on figures released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and those with existing health conditions like cancer, kidney disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, among others.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) appears to target the same people across the globe, the Philippines included.
A study conducted by the University of the Philippines Population Institute shows that even though only eight percent of the country’s population belong to the age group 60 and over, they account for majority of Covid-19 deaths so far. Individuals below 60 who have dominated positive cases make up only a third of total deaths.
Armed with this knowledge, government and health officials should focus their efforts on protecting this vulnerable segment of society to avoid being overwhelmed by the logistics of trying to fight a nationwide health crisis with limited resources that are slowly being depleted.
People, too, need to take responsibility for their actions.
At this point, more than 10 months since the archipelago was placed on community quarantine, which has resulted in the shutdown of many businesses and the loss of many jobs, everyone needs to start using their common sense.
They know that wearing face masks and observing social distancing can lower the risk of transmission. They know that practicing proper hygiene also helps.
They also know that life can and does go on despite the ongoing threat of the pandemic as long as they modify their behavior.
Dr. Bryan Albert Lim, a Cebuano infectious disease specialist, has come up with several tips to prevent the elderly and the already sick from getting infected.
The best way is to isolate them from younger members of their family but that’s not always practical or even advisable, especially if they require hands-on care, and Dr. Lim is aware of that.
In the end, it’s about making that extra effort and zeroing in on the problem.
Perhaps, to reduce public concern with the recent rise in Covid-19 cases, the Department of Health and Cebu City’s Emergency Operations Center should also go into relevant details when releasing figures. That way, they can clear up any confusion and prevent rattling nerves and sowing fear.