Don’t lump seniors together on coronavirus. Older people aren’t all the same.
OPINIONKaren L. Fingerman and Kelly Trevino, Opinion contributors Published 4:00 a.m. ET April 7, 2020 Some older adults may have been planning a trip to Nepal. Others may be medical workers making vital contributions. And others may be sick and frail.We hear constantly about the serious consequences of COVID-19 for older adults and the need to stay at home. Undoubtedly, the disease carries a disproportionate risk for them. In the United States, 80% of deaths from COVID-19 have occurred in adults age 65 and older.But here is the important part: The case fatality rate (the number of deaths among people who contract COVID-19) varies greatly across age groups in late life. Everyone over age 65 is not the same in the context of the pandemic. People who are 65 years old have rates of death — and likelihoods of recovery — vastly different from patients who are 85 years old.We need to stop lumping all older adults into one category and making decisions based on this blunt criterion. Doing so misses important differences across age.Older adults have diverse livesIt is difficult to estimate the case fatality rate because we do not know how many people of all ages contract the disease. But the Journal of