We all may be getting tired of social distancing, wearing itchy masks, and washing our hands 50 times a day, but COVID-19 is still as active as ever.
In the United States alone, there have been more than 3.4M cases and 136,000 deaths. So while you may not know someone personally who has gotten sick, people are definitely still getting the virus. Those are just inarguable facts.
But even as coronavirus rages on, it turns out that our older family members — aka the people who are most at risk for death by coronavirus — are actually the least concerned about it.
According to the CDC, 8 out of 10 COVID-related deaths are in adults 65 and older. And yet, those in that age range apparently don’t think they are even at risk of getting the disease.
In fact, 77% of Americans 65+ think that they are “unlikely” to get COVID, according to the latest Harris Poll.
So if the numbers don’t lie, why are our parents and grandparents so cavalier about the whole thing?
While there are likely a number of reasons, one of the most detrimental might be where they’re getting their information. With many older adults’ political views leaning heavily conservative, they’re more likely to choose conservative sources like Fox News.
Fox News has already been called out numerous times for downplaying the severity of the virus. Earlier this year, Fox News staple Sean Hannity even openly mocked COVID and the democrats’ response, saying,
“The apocalypse is imminent and you’re going to all die, all of you in the next 48 hours. And it’s all President Trump’s fault. Or at least that’s what the media mob and the Democratic extreme radical socialist party would like you to think.”
Watching Fox News’ hosts like Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson is so harmful that numerous studies actually found a strong correlation between the consumption of right-wing media and higher infection rates (they even called out Sean Hannity by name).
So, if that’s where your parents and/or grandparents are getting their news, it would make sense that they wouldn’t believe their chances of getting sick are as high as they actually are. After all, if the news you trust is telling you not to worry, why would you?
With the country slowly opening back up, it would be easy for any of us to think that COVID is no longer a serious risk. And, of course, nobody truly wants to believe that they would be the one to get sick. But people are getting sick. Period.
And while the media has focused on the recent, severe uptick in cases in states like Florida and California, what they haven’t discussed is the fact that there has been an uptick in cases in 39 states in the last two weeks. In other words, you don’t have to live in Florida to get coronavirus.
So what can we do if our parents and grandparents aren’t taking it as seriously as we would like them to? Obviously, everyone is entitled to make their own choices. But that doesn’t mean we have to be the ones to put them at risk.
Below are three ways to help your older loved ones stay safe.
1. Offer To Handle Their Online Grocery & Medication Orders
Let’s be real: not every older adult is so adept at technology. But you can help! Offer to take their grocery list off their hands and input their order online. That way, they can avoid a trip to the grocery.
Additionally, many pharmacies like CVS and Duane Reade offer the chance to have your medication delivered right to your door, but require an app to do so. In this case, speak with your loved ones to get all their information so you can handle their medication deliveries on their behalf.
2. Make Sure You Only Visit With Them Outside
It’s hard to go so many months without seeing family and it may be especially difficult if your parents or grandparents are isolated home alone. So, if you want to plan a visit, ask them if you can keep it outside.
According to Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease specialist, the spread of the disease is significantly worse indoors than it is outdoors.
That being said, you should still stay six feet apart and wear a mask!
3. Get Tested Before a Visit
When COVID first started spreading, it was nearly impossible to get tested. But now tests are pretty much available at any doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital.
If you’re planning on seeing your parents and/or grandparents, definitely get tested first — especially if you’ve been hanging out with other people!
As you may know by now, you can have the virus without any symptoms. So, while you may not feel sick, you may actually have COVID and not even know it. And yes, having COVID while being asymptomatic means you can still spread it to your loved ones.
To learn more about COVID and how to prevent the spread to your family, head to the World Health Organization here.
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel and when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her obsessing over her tuxedo cat Tom or hoarding drugstore lipsticks.