When the world faced the COVID-19 pandemic, our behaviors, medical practices, and economy were all affected and had to shift in some way. Society overcame many challenges, including the loss of businesses and school systems closing down. Additionally, it was reported back in 2019 by the CDC that adults who were 65 years or older represented 80% of hospitalizations in the United States. As of January 4th of 2023, there have been 6,841,742 reported cases for adults 65-74 years old. Due to many health conditions that older individuals face as they age, COVID-19 puts them at a greater risk than those who are under 60. While people of all ages faced many hardships, they inevitably learned to adapt and move forward together as communities. With the development and widespread distribution of vaccines and boosters, substantial progress has been made.
We as a society have come a long way since the beginning of this pandemic. As we continue to move forward, we must recognize the virus is still here and will require us to be aware of it just as much as the seasonal flu or respiratory syncytial virus. We must continue staying alert and up to date on the latest information regarding COVID-19.
Great results have been achieved in managing COVID-19, but the virus was still very prevalent last year with 96,752,266 cases confirmed in the United States from January 3rd to November 11th of 2022. According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, there were 1,780,649 cases reported on the last day of 2022. For the near future, it will remain a good idea to be familiar with vaccination and COVID-19 data for your area and follow the local, state, and federal safety guidelines. Through good public health practices, we can continue protecting ourselves and our loved ones.
What Can I Do To Protect Myself and Others?
- Wear a facemask in public indoor spaces.
- Maintain at least six feet of distance between yourself and others.
- Avoid large gatherings.
- Socialize outdoors.
- Get vaccinated and boosted as soon as you are eligible.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Minimize touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean frequently touched objects and surfaces regularly.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
Delivering At-Home Testing Kits
To help ensure that Americans have tests on hand, the Biden Administration has purchased one billion at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests to give away to American households for free. People now have the option to order these kits online at COVIDTests.gov. To ensure broad access, the program limits the number to four tests to be sent to each residential address.
Older adults and people with disabilities
It is crucial to stay up-to-date on vaccinations for older adults and people with disabilities. Many aging and disability organizations across the nation are working to educate people about the latest vaccines and help older individuals overcome any logistical challenges they face in getting vaccinated.
- The Administration for Community Living (ACL) COVID-19 webpage provides resources and information for older adults and people with disabilities, including resources for people with COVID-related disabilities.
- The Disability Information and Assistance Line (DIAL) can be reached by calling 888-677-1199 or by emailing DIAL@usaginganddisability.org.
Local South Carolina Resources for COVID-19
Guidance for persons exposed to COVID-19
A treatment guide for patients
Schools and Childcare Center Resources
Mccreless, P. (2022, December 9th). COVID cases spike, overtake growing flu numbers in SC, new data shows. What to know. The State. Retrieved December 12, 2022, from https://www.thestate.com/news/state/south-carolina/article269763567.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID Data Tracker. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2022, December 09. https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker
Mueller, Amber L et al. “Why does COVID-19 disproportionately affect older people?.” Aging vol. 12,10 (2020): 9959-9981. doi:10.18632/aging.103344
Elflein, John. ‘Number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. as of January 4, 2023, by age” Statista; January 11, 2023. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1254271/us-total-number-of-covid-cases-by-age-group/