Joel S. Hirschhorn
What is evident is that pandemic management by the health system lost its initial focus on saving the lives of the elderly. Instead, the push has been on getting the whole population vaccinated for COVID even though the vast majority have no major risk from COVID. But this approach makes money for the big drug companies, like Pfize. Here are two recent articles that show how the elderly have been harmed by the mismanagement of the pandemic by the public health system.
The New York Times reported on high death rates in 2022. Here is what they said on May 31, 2022.
During the Omicron Wave, Death Rates Soared for Older People
Here are excepts:
Last year, people 65 and older died from Covid at lower rates than in previous waves. But with Omicron and waning immunity, death rates rose again.
Despite strong levels of vaccination among older people, Covid killed them at vastly higher rates during this winter’s Omicron wave than it did last year, preying on long delays since their last shots and the variant’s ability to skirt immune defenses.
This winter’s wave of deaths in older people belied the Omicron variant’s relative mildness. Almost as many Americans 65 and older died in four months of the Omicron surge as did in six months of the Delta wave, even though the Delta variant, for any one person, tended to cause more severe illness.
While overall per capita Covid death rates have fallen, older people still account for an overwhelming share of them.
“This is not simply a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” said Andrew Stokes, an assistant professor in global health at Boston University who studies age patterns of Covid deaths. “There’s still exceptionally high risk among older adults, even those with primary vaccine series.”
Covid deaths, though always concentrated in older people, have in 2022 skewed toward older people more than they did at any point since vaccines became widely available.
As older people began dying at higher rates, Covid deaths also came to include higher proportions of vaccinated people. In March, about 40 percent of the people who died from Covid were vaccinated, according to an analysis of figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On the same day this article was published:
Long COVID in Older Adults: An Elusive Geriatric Syndrome
Here are excepts:
A recent report from the CDC said that nearly 60% of Americans, including 75% of children and adolescents, have been infected by SARS-CoV-2 as of February. As the virus continues to linger and mutate, that number will continue to rise, leading to higher rates of long COVID: a wide range of symptoms that can last more than 4 weeks or longer after the initial infection.
Issues like breathing difficulties, fatigue, high blood pressure, memory difficulties, mental health diagnoses (depression and anxiety), blood clotting, and kidney injury can now become a new, ongoing health battle — possibly worse than the virus itself. Older Americans are once again left at high risk for potentially fatal complications.
In a recent study that included nearly 90,000 adults ages 65 and older who were diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection, 32% reported symptoms of long COVID up to 4 months after infection. These striking findings imply that millions of older adults could be suffering from debilitating symptoms of long COVID. With these staggering numbers, and what we are seeing in our patients in hospitals and primary care facilities, we — as clinicians — need to reframe how we view and address long COVID in this population. We need to improve our approach to and management of long COVID.
Dr. Joel S. Hirschhorn, author of Pandemic Blunder and many articles and podcasts on the pandemic, worked on health issues for decades, and his Pandemic Blunder Newsletter is on Substack. As a full professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, he directed a medical research program between the colleges of engineering and medicine. As a senior official at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the National Governors Association, he directed major studies on health-related subjects; he testified at over 50 US Senate and House hearings and authored hundreds of articles and op-ed articles in major newspapers. He has served as an executive volunteer at a major hospital for more than 10 years. He has been a member of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, and America’s Frontline Doctors.