It became evident early in the coronavirus pandemic that older ages are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and becoming severely ill, but the Omicron and Delta variants of COVID-19 make matters worse.
Both variants are two times more contagious as the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to medical experts, which makes it harder on seniors who already experience daily life challenges.
While some seniors are less concerned about the new variants of COVID-19 because they have lived through other catastrophes and difficult times, others are extremely fearful.
COVID-19 has increased the risk of social isolation and loneliness, which can result in depression, anxiety and other health problems.
Harriette Jackson, 63, said that COVID-19 has made her feel like her livelihood is slowly diminishing.
“Due to my underlined medical conditions, I have to be more cautious of the people that surround me,” Jackson said. “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve also come to grips with my own inevitable mortality and feel that the new variants of COVID-19 are stealing the time I have left.”
As the COVID-19 crisis evolves, the widespread effects of both the virus and the preventative measures being taken to protect the population are becoming clearer.
Director of respiratory care at Capital Regional Medical Center, Antwan Brooks, said people in the community should remain hyper-vigilant.
“The biggest thing you can do to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 is wearing your mask, social distancing and hand washing,” Brooks said.
The coronavirus vaccines have been proven to be the best protection to decrease the severity of COVID-19 symptoms and shorten the length of the illness if one contracts the virus. Vaccines have decreased the number of people who require hospitalization and decreased the likelihood of death from COVID-19 exponentially.
Dr. Temple Robinson, the CEO at Bond Medical Center, said that all elderly people are potentially vulnerable to COVID-19, but the spread can decrease by taking the appropriate safety measures.
“There are multiple ways to reduce the risk of catching COVID-19,” Robinson said. “This means shopping earlier when there are fewer people in stores, having a select number of friends and family members that you mingle with and who you trust to be vaccinated and asking visitors to test prior to visiting.”
For more information regarding the new variants of COVID-19 visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at CDC.gov.