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Letting the elderly die is ‘moral bankruptcy,’ WHO warns

People have neglected the elderly during the coronavirus pandemic.

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In their first encounter in more than 100 days due to restrictions to fight the coronavirus pandemic, Isabel Pérez López, 96, receives an embrace through a plastic film screen from her visiting daughter, Beatriz Segura, 67 at a nursing home in Barcelona, Spain, Monday, June 22, 2020.

In their first encounter in more than 100 days due to restrictions to fight the coronavirus pandemic, Isabel Pérez López, 96, receives an embrace through a plastic film screen from her visiting daughter, Beatriz Segura, 67 at a nursing home in Barcelona, Spain, Monday, June 22, 2020.

Emilio Morenatti, Associated Press

A leader from the World Health Organization has criticized those who believe the death of the elderly is fine amid the coronavirus pandemic.

What happened:

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he has heard people who say high COVID-19 death rates among the older population is fine and not worth worrying about.

“No, when the elderly are dying it’s not fine. It’s a moral bankruptcy. Every life, whether it’s young or old, is precious and we have to do everything to save it.”

  • 88% of all deaths in Europe related to COVID-19 are for those 65 and older, CNN reports.
  • Almost half of all deaths across the world have taken place in elderly care homes, according to CNN.

Louise Aronson, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, asked why we’re OK with old people dying in an opinion piece for The New York Times, too.

This matters in the era of COVID-19 because in a culture that persists in ignoring the last century’s huge gains in longevity and the obvious differences between young and much older adults, we are unable to address the needs of older Americans. It matters because the isolation necessary for slowing the rate of contagion will also cause irreparable harm to their health and have both short- and long-term economic effects. And it matters because when we accept the second-class citizenship of an entire category of human being, we set a precedent for treating others with the same disregard.

Aronson said it’s important for people to embrace the elderly to create a better future for us all.

  • “We can choose to either diminish our elders or support them. When we care for them, we not only are affecting the lives of people now but also are shaping our own futures.”