January. 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 soaking wet —her sheets and pajamas,” Tim said.
Legula is a resident of The Willows, a skilled nursing community in Oakmont, PA, and owns and operates through Presbyterian SeniorCare Network, seeking treatment 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 disproportionately high rates from COVID-19 . For example, people aged 65 to 74 account for 22% of COVID-19 deaths, although this age group accounts for less than 10% of the U.S. population, CDC data exhibit. The picture was even more dire for those aged 75 to 84 — a group that accounted for 26 percent of deaths but less than 5 percent of the population.
Oldest Americans, those 85 and older, account for deaths 27% of the population, but only 2% of the U.S. population.
Beyond that, the ascent impact of the latest Omicron sub-variant XBB.1.5 has not been fully exploited Recognize that the future is still uncertain.
Legula, who survived COVID-19, went on to have a heart attack and was diagnosed with Have breast cancer, all before the spring of 2020.
Tim says her prognosis is good now. “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, underwent radiation therapy, she fell once, she was Surviving COVID, she had a heart attack,” Tim said. Although attending doctors warned his mother might not survive the night of her heart attack, she improved and celebrated her 104th in January 2021
“Now, God willing, she will be celebrating her 106th birthday in a few days.”
Bi-price booster purchase – Key factors in a Legula’s recovery: Her COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters are also up to date.
David Gifford Medicine, Chief Medical Officer, American Healthcare Association/National Center for Assisted Living in Washington Bivalent booster targeting certain strains of Omicron and original coronavirus 84% more effective at preventing hospitalizations in older adults, says Dr. , DC.
A Jan. 3 preprint studies published in the journal The Lancet ) supports 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.
But just over a third of Americans age 65 and older, or 38%, own a received a bivalent booster , compared to 15% of all Americans age 5 or older, CDC data display. So there’s plenty of room for improvement, experts say.
“Our members are constantly pushing to increase the percentage of residents who receive boosters,” says Lisa Sanders of Director of Media Relations for LeadingAge, a national nonprofit provider and association of aging services, including nursing homes, retirement community settings and affordable housing for seniors.
One of the biggest misconceptions, she says, is “the belief that divalent boosters are unnecessary The” Also, continued education and access to vaccines are still important “because there’s a lot of misinformation.”
“The message has to be clear: You need to get the bivalent booster,” Sanders said, “especially after the holidays and [when] new variants come out.”
COVID and collective life
As older Americans are more vulnerable to COVID -19, a question that arises is: what are the settings in which 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 from the coronavirus.
“Long-term care professionals know from day one that older adults with chronic conditions are most vulnerable to infection This virus. They’ve been facing unspeakable tragedy at their bedside for the past 3 years,” Gifford said. As has been well demonstrated during this pandemic, long-term care facilities initially begged public health officials for resources to no avail,” he said.
So where are they now?
Gifford On the bright side, defensive and preventive measures have come a long way since the pandemic began, he said. “While older adults remain the most vulnerable, we have the tools to help protect them from serious illness and hospitalization.” Tool of. First, older adults need a timely COVID vaccine, which means getting newer bivalent boosters. “
The three U.S. states with the most residents aged 65 and over are California, Florida, and Texas. Based on 2021 U.S. Census data, as a percentage , more than one in five Floridians, or 21%, fall into this age group.
as the most vulnerable elderly in the country Population One, the Tallahassee-based Florida Healthcare Association continues to promote the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. “While boosters It may not be possible to prevent infection, but we know it can help residents avoid serious illness or hospitalization. “
COVID-19 vaccination is not a requirement for resident admission or employee employment. But Knapp said, Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, whether vaccinated or not, is required to follow infection control protocols.
On November 22nd, the White House announced a campaign to Roll out booster among older adults . Focus on reaching older adults and other communities most affected by COVID-19, making vaccination more accessible, and Raise awareness through paid media.
This initiative includes new enforcement delivered through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Guidance to ensure that nursing homes provide updated COVID-19 vaccines and timely treatment of 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,” Sanders said , which is important because approximately 90% of nursing home admissions involve transfers from hospitals.
Continue to be vigilant
Future variants continue to be a threat, but experts stress that vaccines are highly effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths.
“We continue to monitor and prepare for anticipated surges, such as this winter, and encourage everyone, including our residents and employees, to obtain their A booster,” Gifford said. Be wary that this is a community problem, Sanders said. “Humans have a tendency to want to push it away and say, ‘Oh, this is their problem. ‘
“Really, it’s all our problem if we all take steps to protect ourselves and Everyone otherwise, we would be better off as a society.”