Our policy, by and large, has treated every person as equally at risk, but the disease doesn’t treat us all equally. As we’ve known nearly from the start of this pandemic, but have chosen to downplay in our public messaging and public policy, COVID-19 is brutally lethal for the elderly, considerably less so for the middle-aged, and still less so for the young. The disease discriminates by age, in other words, so much so that at least one-third of all deaths from COVID in the U.S. have been nursing-home residents and employees. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the figure could be even higher: one-half.COVID-19 Targets the Elderly. Why Don’t Our Prevention Efforts?
In the Isle of Man, this horror style has been even worse – the vast majority of deaths in the Isle of Man were associated with the Abbotswood Nursing Home.
Coincidentally, a friend shared this on Facebook the same day I read the article above:
Commenting on that picture, Brandi Dion wrote:
Two very different businesses pictured.
One is essential to fight obesity, diabetes and heart disease, the other is not.
One is scientifically proven to be essential to health. The other is not.
One is proven to reverse the very chronic illnesses that are most susceptible to Covid-19. The other is not.
One of these businesses is scientifically proven to help with depression and anxiety. The other is not.
One is considered an “essential” business, the other is not.
hmmmm which business is actually ESSENTIAL?
He’s entirely spot on – we are building a complicated set of rules and regulations based around corporations, when instead, our community’s response should be based around people.
The countries which have much lower death rates than the USA, UK, Isle of Man and Western Europe – Australia and New Zealand shut their borders on the same day that the Manx Chief Minister was encouraging people to spend more money at local businesses like restaurants. Various Eastern Asian countries have enforced very harsh quarantine and testing regimens. But the key difference of the policies of Asia and Oceania from America and Western Europe was that the successful policies focused on people.
Instead, still, in the middle of May, we are continuing this failed process of treating everyone equally with a dismal attempt at universal rules imposed from above. These rules have terrible costs, with domestic violence surging as predicted, and thousands of people out of work.
We should be focusing protection efforts on those people who are most vulnerable. As the Abbotswood tragedy demonstrates, the most vulnerable people of our community need special protection, not to just be treated like everyone else.
Thus, things like massively ramping up testing for people who are live with, and connected to, vulnerable people. Providing protective equipment to those households who have vulnerable people in them. In other words, instead of trying to build rules around corporations, we should be building rules around people.
It is a tragedy that still today – on the 13th of May – we are averaging under 60 tests per day on the Isle of Man. Ideally, we would test everyone on the island every day (or even multiple times a day!) until the disease was eradicated. But at the very least, let’s prioritise the care for people, and give Manx people the information they need to manage their own risks.