Giving Compass' Take:

• Vulnerable populations, including immunocompromised and the elderly, need our support right now, and local government leaders should also respond to the needs of these populations. 

• Action steps include funding research for tests and treatments and providing nursing homes with more resources, among others. How can donors help to serve vulnerable populations during this time?

• Read more about the most vulnerable groups of people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Every time I call my grandmother, she asks me the same question: “When is this going to be over?”

She hasn’t left the house since the first rumblings of the coronavirus reached her in early March, and she misses shopping at the mall, playing with her bridge club, and receiving visits from her great-grandchildren. “This will be over by summer,” she says, “right?”

I hate having to break it to her. This will not be over by summer. Not by a long shot — at least not for people who are, like her, especially vulnerable to severe Covid-19.

The economy may be reopening in some places, and some people may be going back to work. But that doesn’t mean it’ll soon be safe for those who’ve been enduring isolation and remain at high risk: seniors, those with compromised immune systems, and those with underlying conditions like heart disease or diabetes.

This raises a distressing set of questions: Will those who are most vulnerable to the disease have to stay isolated for months or years, paying the price for everyone else’s reopened economies and reasserted sense of normalcy? Will they become, in a sense, second-class citizens? And are we okay with that?

Almost from the beginning of this pandemic, we’ve known that the coronavirus is more dangerous for people who are elderly, immunocompromised, and who have underlying conditions.

Aging leads to decreased immune function, which makes people susceptible to more severe illness and even death. Early data from China revealed that the coronavirus gets deadlier with each extra decade of life you’ve got under your belt. In the UK, a new preprint paper shows that someone over the age of 80 is 180 times more likely to die of coronavirus than someone under 40. In the US, eight out of 10 people who have died of coronavirus were age 65 or older, and one-third of all Covid-19 deaths have been linked to nursing homes.

Read the full article about vulnerable populations by Sigal Samuel at Vox.