The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on May 1 said that the coronavirus pandemic is 'causing untold fear and suffering for older people across the world'. Guterres said that beyond the immediate health impact, the pandemic is putting older people at greater risk of poverty, discrimination, and isolation, adding the fatality rate for older people is higher overall, and especially for those over 80, it is five times the global average.
"As an older person myself, with responsibility for an even older mother, I am deeply concerned about the pandemic on a personal level, and about its effects on our communities and societies. Today we are launching a policy brief that provides analysis and recommendations to address these challenges. Our response to COVID-19 must respect the rights and dignity of older people," Guterres wrote in his blog post that was published on the official website of the UN.
Guterres in the blogpost outlined several important messages that include treating older people with respect and dignity. Guterres said, "We need improved social support and smarter efforts to reach older people through digital technology. That is vital to older people who may face great suffering and isolation under lockdowns and other restrictions. Let’s not treat older people as invisible or powerless."
The virus outbreak that started in China's Wuhan city has spread across continents in just one month forcing the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare it a pandemic on March 11. Health experts believe that the coronavirus originated from a seafood market in China's Wuhan city, where animals were reportedly being traded illegally. According to data by worldometer, more than 3.42 million people have been infected by the disease globally, of which over 2,40,000 have lost their lives as of May 2.