Torres-Gil Identifies Ageism in COVID-19 Treatment

Fernando Torres-Gil, professor of social welfare and public policy, spoke to Ethnic Media Services about the health risks of staying in a nursing home during the COVID-19 pandemic. People 65 and older have been disproportionately infected and killed by the coronavirus, accounting for eight out of 10 COVID deaths in the United States. More than 43,000 deaths and 210,000 infections have occurred in long-term care facilities, accounting for about 40% of all COVID-related deaths. Torres-Gil said that many hospitals intentionally discriminated against elderly people in the initial stages of the pandemic, doling out scarce resources such as ventilators to younger people who had longer life expectancies. “Those who were older, those who have various types of disabilities were put at the back of the line, a clear example of ageism,” he said. Torres-Gil hopes to see a dramatic expansion of home- and community-based long-term care as a result of the pandemic.

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