Despite the recent breakthroughs in vaccine development, it will take a couple of months at least before their impact will allow us to lower our guard and return to what resembles normalcy. In the meantime, it’s important to keep those most vulnerable to COVID-19 safe and try to do our part in limiting the spread of the virus.
As the holiday season approaches that leaves many with the difficult question of whether or not they should spend Christmas with their parents, grandparents or other vulnerable relatives. And while experts clearly advise against large family gatherings this year, the thought of spending the holiday without their loved ones will certainly be too much to bear for many people, even those that have been careful for months.
When making the decision on how to spend the holidays, it’s important to remember just how much more dangerous COVID-19 is to the elderly compared to young, healthy people. Of the roughly 250,000 people who had died from COVID-19 in the United States as of December 2, 230,000 were older than 55, with almost 150,000 deaths occurring in the 75+ age group alone. Meanwhile, less than 2,500 people younger than 35 lost their lives to the virus, with just over 500 victims younger than 25.
The following chart compares the distribution of COVID-19 deaths across age groups with the age composition of the U.S. population, illustrating the disproportionate toll the disease takes on the elderly.