by Thomas Lally and Marc Rothman
“Staying at home has never been so vital for older Americans and those with compromised health. After nine months of the coronavirus pandemic, sheltering in place is still the most effective protection against Covid-19 for many older adults, and likely will be until an effective vaccine helps stop the pandemic.
“The virus has taken an enormous toll on our nation’s older adults. They account for 16% of the U.S. population but 80% of Covid-19 deaths, somewhat higher than their share of deaths from all causes over the same period (75%).
“Covid-19 has crystallized for many the challenges that homebound older adults face when it comes to access to care. At least 2 million people ages 65 and older are permanently homebound and millions more cannot easily get to a doctor’s office. While telemedicine has exploded and living room couches have become the new exam table, virtual medicine cannot deliver vaccines — a challenge that we hope will need solving sooner rather than later.”