President Donald Trump urged Americans to carefully shield old people from the expanding number of people who are infected with the Chinese coronavirus that has already killed more than ten residents in an elderly facility in Washington State.
“Day by day, we’re moving very quickly. The vast majority of Americans, the[ir] risk is very, very low,” he said in a Wednesday night speech to the nation. He continued:
Young and healthy people can expect to recover fully and quickly if they should get the virus. The highest risk is for [the] elderly population with underlying health conditions. The elderly population must be very, very careful.
In particular, we’re strongly advising that nursing homes for the elderly suspend all medically unnecessary visits. In general, older Americans should also avoid non-essential traveling in crowded areas.
Reports from China and Italy say a large share of the dead are older people who cannot recover when the virus invades their lungs. Business Insider reported March 11:
Before the coronavirus hit the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington, 120 seniors lived there. Now there are fewer than 50.
The long-term care facility, about 20 minutes north of Seattle, has been battling a coronavirus outbreak for weeks. Since the outbreak started, 26 of the center’s residents have died, 13 of whom were confirmed to have COVID-19, the disease the coronavirus causes. Some others who died have not yet been tested.
The deaths came at the very start of the epidemic when there was no shortage of ventilators and life-support machines. But in Italy, many elderly are reportedly not getting treatment because hospitals do not have enough equipment. The shortage is forcing doctors to choose which patients will get treatment and which will be left to die, say reports from Italy.
Nationwide, more than 30 million Americans are older than 70.
My administration is coordinating directly with communities with [the] largest outbreaks and we have issued guidance on school closures, social distancing and reducing large gatherings. Smart action today will prevent the spread of the virus tomorrow.
Every community faces different risks and it is critical for you to follow the guidelines of your local officials who are working closely with our federal health experts and they are the best.
For all Americans, it is essential that everyone take extra precautions and practice good hygiene. Each of us has a role to play in defeating this virus. Wash your hands. clean often-used surfaces, cover your face and mouth if you sneeze or cough. And most of all, if you are sick or not feeling well, stay home.