January 10, 2023 – At this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, we seem to be returning to some semblance of “normal”. But many, especially older Americans, remain at higher risk of serious outcomes, including hospitalization and death.
For example, Legula Estiloz was diagnosed with COVID-19 at the age of 104. “A few days after Christmas 2020, she and I both got COVID-19,” said her son, Tim Estiloz.
“I went in and woke her up for breakfast and she was just drenched, drenched — her sheets and pajamas,” Tim said.
Legula, a resident of The Willows, a skilled nursing community in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, owned and operated by the Presbyterian SeniorCare Network, sought care at nearby Magee Hospital. Both Legula and Tim were tested for COVID-19 and tested positive. They have a low-grade fever and fatigue. Legula had lost his appetite for months. But none of them lost their sense of smell or taste, or had trouble breathing.
There was no COVID-19 vaccine at the time. “It’s even more amazing that she survived at that age without even the benefit of the vaccine getting her through,” he said.
Americans 65 and older are dying at a disproportionately high rate from COVID-19. For example, people aged 65 to 74 accounted for 22% of COVID-19 deaths, even though this age group makes up less than 10% of the U.S. population, CDC figures exhibit. The picture was even more dire for people aged 75 to 84 — a group that accounted for 26 percent of deaths but less than 5 percent of the population.
The oldest Americans, those 85 and older, accounted for 27% of the deaths but only 2% of the U.S. population.
Coupled with the fact that the effects of the latest Omicron sub-variant, XBB.1.5, are not fully understood, the future remains uncertain.
Legula, who survived COVID-19, went on to have a heart attack and a breast cancer diagnosis, all before spring 2020.
Her prognosis is now good, Tim said. “She’s doing really well. I think for a while, she’s doing better than me.” She plays notes on the piano, likes to “dance” in her wheelchair, and catches a child from 3 or 4 “every time.” A ball thrown from ft.
Summing up her pandemic experience, Legula “battled breast cancer, had radiation therapy, she had a fall, she survived COVID, she survived a heart attack,” Tim said.Although attending doctors warned his mother might not survive the night of the heart attack, she improved and celebrated her 104th birthday in January 2021day Birthday.
“Now, God willing, in a few days she will be celebrating her 106th birthday.”
Bi-Price Booster Buy
A key factor in Legula’s recovery: She also received a timely COVID-19 vaccine and booster.
Bivalent boosters targeting certain Omicron strains and the original coronavirus were 84% more effective at preventing hospitalization in older adults, said David Gifford, MD, chief medical officer of the American Healthcare Association/National Center for Assisted Living in Washington %, direct current.
A sort of Preprint research published in journal on January 3 Lancet Support this. Although not yet peer-reviewed, researchers studied 622,701 people aged 65 and over and found that those who received bivalent boosters were 81% less likely to be hospitalized compared with other people who received bivalent boosters , were 86% less likely to die from COVID-19 without receiving.
But just over a third of Americans age 65 and older, or 38 percent, have Received a bivalent booster, compared with 15 percent of all Americans age 5 or older, CDC data show. So there’s plenty of room for improvement, experts say.
“We’re always pushing our members to increase booster acceptance among residents,” said Lisa Sanders, director of media relations for LeadingAge, a national nonprofit association of providers and services for aging, including nursing homes, retirement community settings and Affordable housing for seniors.
One of the biggest misconceptions, she said, is “the belief that bivalent boosters are unnecessary.” Also, continuing education and access to the vaccine are still important “because there’s a lot of misinformation out there.”
“The message has to be clear: You need to get the bivalent booster,” Sanders said, “especially during the holidays and [when] New variants are emerging. “
COVID and group living
As older Americans are more vulnerable to the severe effects of COVID-19, one question that arises is: What are the settings where they live together, such as nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and other care centers? Early in the pandemic, these locations faced greater infection control challenges due to the coronavirus.
“Long-term care professionals have known from day one that older adults with chronic illnesses are the most vulnerable to this virus. They have been dealing with unspeakable tragedy at their bedside for the past 3 years,” Gifford said .
“Unfortunately, ageism has been on full display during this pandemic, as evidenced by long-term care facilities begging public health officials for resources to no avail when they first started,” he said.
So where are they now?
On the bright side, defenses and precautions have come a long way since the pandemic began, Gifford said. “While older adults remain the most vulnerable group, we have the tools to help protect them from serious illness and hospitalization. First and foremost, older adults need a timely COVID vaccine, which means getting updated dual Valence enhancer.”
florida cutting edge
The three states with the largest populations aged 65 and over are California, Florida and Texas. For example, according to 2021 data, more than one in five Floridians in this age group, or 21 percent US census figures.
The Florida Healthcare Association in Tallahassee continues to improve the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and boosters targeting one of the most vulnerable older populations in the country. “While the booster may not prevent infection, we know it can help residents avoid serious illness or hospitalization,” said Kristen Knapp, senior director of strategy and communications for the association.
COVID-19 vaccination is not a requirement for resident enrollment or employee employment. But Knapp said anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, whether vaccinated or not, must follow infection control protocols.
the fed stepped in
On November 22, the White House announced a plan to Promoting Boosters in Seniors. The focus is on reaching older adults and other communities most affected by COVID-19, making vaccination more accessible, and raising awareness through paid media.
The initiative includes new enforcement guidance through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to ensure that nursing homes provide up-to-date COVID-19 vaccines and provide timely treatment to their residents and staff.
Shortly thereafter, LeadingAge teamed up with the American Healthcare Association to launch an “All Hands on Deck” initiative to help achieve the White House’s goals. One strategy is to get hospitals more involved. That’s important, Sanders said, because about 90 percent of nursing home admissions involve people transferred from hospitals.
Experts stress that future variants remain a threat, but vaccines are highly effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths.
“We will continue to monitor and prepare for anticipated surges, such as this winter, and encourage everyone, including our residents and employees, to get vaccinated,” Gifford said.
Sanders said this is a community issue that requires continued vigilance. “Humans have a tendency to want to push it away and say, ‘Oh, this is their problem.’
“Really, it’s all our problem and our society will be better off if we all take steps to protect ourselves and each other.”