The current COVID-19 outbreak is giving way to a plethora of consequences ranging from unnecessary hoarding of household supplies and job losses to widening social divides along race and age lines. Although social distancing restrictions have been put in place to protect people most at risk from becoming seriously ill from the new coronavirus, many older Americans are not heeding the call to stay home.
While Generation Z; the post-millennials in their teens and early 20s, may view the coronavirus as a disease that only is a concern for older adults, in contrast, Baby Boomers are frustrating their grown children by disregarding orders to stay home. According to a recent Rolling Stone article, a survey of 2,000 Americans found that boomers are most resistant to changing their daily habits.
Compared with Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996 and Generation Xers, born between 1965 and 1980, Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964 were less likely to have cancelled travel plans as a result of the news of the spread of COVID-19. Some of the lack of concern among older adults also appears to result from the media coverage they are using and their political affiliations. The same STAANCE survey found that 79 percent of Republicans thought the media was exaggerating the risk of COVID-19 and that Americans were overreacting.
Many baby boomers may consider themselves “too young” to worry about becoming seriously ill from the virus and are stubbornly continuing to go into work, make unnecessary shopping trips, gather with friends and eat out. But not only are seniors over the age of 65 at greater risk for severe illness as a result of contracting COVID-19, because the disease is new, but researchers are also still learning how it spreads.
Studies have found the virus may survive on surfaces from a few hours or up to several days; a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that Coronavirus RNA survived for up to 17 days aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship after passengers and crew members vacated but before surfaced were disinfected.
According to the CDC, 8 out of 10 deaths reported in the United States have been adults over the age of 65. It’s better to stay safe than to become sick; especially if you are an older adult or have an underlying health condition. Learn more about how to cope with the stress of the pandemic while staying safe and helping to stop the spread by following this link to the CDC website.