Senior citizens at risk of getting COVID -19

Muscat: People aged 80 and above are at greater risk of getting COVID -19 infection and they should take special care, according to the Ministry of Health.

While a child less than 10 years of age is at the lowest risk category, a person aged above 80 stands 14. 8 percent chance of getting coronavirus infection, according to Dr. Saleha al Jadidi, Head of Geriatric at the Al Masarrah Hospital.

“Persons aged above 80 are in the highly vulnerable category due to their lower immunity and they need to be extra cautious”, said Dr. Saleha.

“Having said, that doesn’t mean that youngsters are away from COVID-19 threat, but a person between 30 to 40 years of age has 0.2 percent chance of getting infected”, she said.

While the elderly people and those with other health conditions are the most vulnerable, young people from the age of 20 and above till those in their early 40s too can be affected.

“Coronavirus attacks those who are weak or low in immunity, hence the elderly are vulnerable because many among this population group have chronic diseases of the elderly and are less immune”, says Dr. Wahid al Kharusi, President and Chairperson of Oman Cancer Association.

According to Dr. Dilip Singhvi, Specialist, Apollo Hospital, the first description of outcomes in 4,226 US COVID-19 cases reported to the CDC from February 12 to March 16 shows that 31 percent of cases, 45 percent of hospitalizations, 53 percent of intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, and 80 percent of deaths occurred in people 65 years or older. “Fatality rates for people 85 years and older ranged from 10 percent to 27 percent.”

“The elderly population, which means those who are aged 65 years and above are more vulnerable to COVID 19 as with advancing age their immunity will be minimal paving way for virus attack”, he added.

Self-restriction, isolation and limited contact is necessary coupled with all the preventive criteria by the WHO and local authorities

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health repeatedly called upon everyone to adhere to the social distancing procedures and follow the instructions given by the Ministry.

“Avoid going to public places or places of worship. Stay indoors and do not step out unless it is really serious,” an MoH statement noted, further urging to adopt preventive measures during religious rites and family and social gatherings.