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Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on older adults in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportional impact on the population of older adults worldwide, and this has been no different in the United States. Since the beginning of the pandemic in the U.S. in March 2020, the CDC has warned older adults to stay at home as much as possible, classifying them as a high-risk group for the disease. While cases of COVID-19 are equally spread throughout the population, hospitalizations and deaths have hit the older population hardest. As of October 2022, around 93 percent of total COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have been among adults aged 50 and older.

COVID-19 vaccinations among older adults

Vaccinating older adults has thus been one of the top priorities of the United States’ public health sector. As of October 2022, the percentage of older adults who were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 had reached 93 percent, much higher than the general population. In many states, like Vermont, the share of fully vaccinated elderly has reached 95 percent. The numbers are promising despite a survey from a year ago that found the likelihood older U.S. adults would get a COVID vaccination when it became available was just over 60 percent among those aged 65 to 80 years.

The impact of COVID-19 on mental health

In 2020, around a third of elderly women and one fifth of elderly men in the United States lived alone. Even though living alone does not equate to being lonely, it does make one more socially isolated which can contribute to loneliness. Since the pandemic, especially when restrictions were in place, older people’s lives, in particular the amount of social contact they have, has been severely affected. A survey in 2020 on older U.S. adults’ feelings of loneliness before and during the COVID-19 pandemic found that they felt an increased lack of companionship and isolation from others just three months into the pandemic. Increased isolation and loneliness have added to the stress and anxiety of these unstable times, and it is no wonder that the mental health of the United States has suffered due to COVID-19. Older generations do seem to be more resilient compared to their younger counterparts and reported less anxiety and depression symptoms during the first year of the pandemic. However, as the elderly have endured much, if not more, than any other age group during the pandemic more focus should be given on the mental health impact of the pandemic.

Interesting statistics

In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 36 most important statistics relating to "Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on older adults in the U.S.".


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