CEBU CITY Vice Mayor Michael Rama wants senior citizens liberated from the “bondage of solitary confinement” in this time of the pandemic. He said “the City Government should allow senior citizens to go out and enjoy their remaining moments of their lives.” I will not accuse Mike of engaging in politics at this early stage, but I hope next time he should do some research and think of the repercussions of his statement before opening his mouth.
When he said, “the City Government should allow senior citizens,” maybe he thinks that this is a policy of Mayor Edgardo Labella. Did he not know that prohibiting senior citizens and those below 21 years to go out is a national policy imposed by the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases? Who is Labella to disregard this policy? Even if Rama is the mayor today, he will be obliged to follow this national policy.
Why did the IATF impose this policy? Because senior citizens are vulnerable to the virus. Why did he barricade his office with iron grills and wouldn’t accept visitors? Why is the City Council, of which he is the presiding officer, holding virtual sessions? Because, like everybody else, he wants to be protected from the virus. That is also the reason the IATF is imposing a stay-at-home order for senior citizens.
In the recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) of the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Covid-19 mortality is higher in persons with underlying medical conditions and in those aged 65 years and above. The CDC said that “among adults, the risk for severe illness from Covid-19 increases with age, with older adults at highest risk. Severe illness means that persons with Covid-19 may require hospitalization, intensive care or a ventilator to help them breathe or they may die.”
Risk for severe illness increases with age. As you get older, your risk for severe illness from Covid-19 increases. For example, people in their 50s are at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 40s. Similarly, people in their 60s or 70s are, in general, at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 50s. The greater risk for severe illness from Covid-19 is among those aged 85 or older.
There are also factors that can increase your risk for severe illness, such as having underlying medical conditions. By understanding the factors that put you at an increased risk, you can make decisions about what kind of precautions to take in your daily life. As you get older, your risk of being hospitalized for Covid-19 increases. Everyone, especially older adults and others at increased risk for severe illness, should take steps to protect themselves from getting Covid-19.
In general, your risk of getting severely ill from Covid-19 increases as you get older. In fact, eight out of 10 Covid-19-related deaths reported in the US have been among adults aged 65 years and older. This is also the same mortality rate in the Philippines.
While communities and businesses across the country are opening, you may be thinking about resuming some activities, running errands and attending events and gathering. There is no way to ensure you have zero risk of infection, so it is important to understand the risks and know how to be as safe as possible.
People at increased risk of severe illness from Covid-19, and those who live with them, should consider their level of risk before deciding to go out and ensure they are taking steps to protect themselves. Consider avoiding activities where taking protective measures may be difficult, such as activities where social distancing cannot be maintained.
Everyone should take steps to prevent getting and spreading Covid-19 to protect themselves, their communities and people who are at increased risk of severe illness. In general, the more people you interact with, the more closely you interact with them, and the longer that interaction, the higher your risk of getting and spreading Covid-19.
I hope Rama and other senior citizens get some insights from this piece.