Forget everything you’ve heard about aging and coronavirus.

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Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

COVID-19 Reporting Makes Ageism Acceptable

Evidence from Outside the US: It’s not about age.

“Everybody knows” means, “This is a lie.”

Even the most reputable news sources reinforce the stereotype.

(1) “Let’s say they are older…”

(2) “Seniors are the most vulnerable…”

(3) Stay home, seniors!

In a truly bizarre twist, many of these articles go on to a more accurate position, just as the WSJ did:

“Older adults may be particularly susceptible…”

“With underlying illnesses…”

“Especially those …”

“83% of deaths are people 65 and older, BUT…”

News stories create false images of helpless seniors.

Bias can influence the presentation of accurate data.

The impact can be almost comical.

Pointing fingers at “older people” has devastating consequences in these 3 ways:

Reinforcing the Stereotype

Immune System Decline Is Not Inevitable Or Universal

Research show Immunosenescence varies widely and can be modified.

Therefore, breezy references to “weakened immune systems” need to be regarded with suspicion.

Underlying Medical Conditions (Comorbidities)

The median age of choir members: 69.

When you separate out pre-existing conditions, age disappears.

Why mess with a perfectly good stereotype?

Do older people really have all those underlying conditions?

“Protective” Policies Can Harm Older Citizens

The Real Villain: Nursing Homes

What SHOULD Be Shocking Us Into Action

Nursing Homes as Ground Zero

Other demographic populations at high risk get taken more seriously.


Race and Ethnicity

The Big Take-Away: Look at Causal Factors, Not Demographics

From Myth To Mainstream

It’s not an age: it’s a mindset.

Reporting data by age, without considering mediators and moderators, does a disservice to the so-called elderly, to medicine and to society.

The Elderly



Replace the Stereotype

(1) Next time you see an article about COVID-19 referring to “the elderly” or “the seniors,” ask if you could substitute a term like “persons with comorbidities.”

(2) Write your legislators — state and federal — about the condition of nursing homes.

(3) Become sensitive to stereotyping and insults about aging.

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