“Meals on Wheels delivery driver Pasquale Fabbricatore, 66, delivers meals to homebound senior Louise Delija, 93, during the coronavirus pandemic, in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Thursday, May 7, 2020.” (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)
By Sally Herships/NPR
“Growing up in the 1930s in a small, marshy town in the Calabrian region of Italy, Rose Frusciante was constantly bombarded by mosquitoes. But one bite in particular proved dangerous.
“Frusciante, who is now 85, still remembers the sweating, fever and chills that followed as well as being heaped under blankets and all the clothing she had as her mother desperately tried to keep her warm. The tiny bite had given her malaria, which also claimed the lives of three of her siblings.
Still, Frusciante, who now lives in Mount Vernon, N.Y., says there is no comparison between the insect-born disease and the invisible threat that is the coronavirus.
“’I’m afraid to go out,’ she says. ‘Because if you walk outside, somebody may have it and they don’t even know.’
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, eight out of ten deaths during the pandemic have been among seniors like Frusciante. And while seniors are among the first in line for the vaccine, other safety nets in place to catch the elderly are unraveling quickly.
“Frusciante’s husband died last year and she lives alone in an apartment. She uses a walker to get around. She needs help, but can’t afford it on $2,000 a month.”
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