Improvement Insights Blog
U.S. Deaths by Age Group as of 4/24/2020
People over age 55 account for 92% of COVID-19 Deaths (data from CDC). Sweden is using similar data to leave the country open for most citizens while asking seniors to stay at home. How do we reopen the economy? Self-quarantine seniors; let everyone else get back to work.
Here’s the 2019-2020 Influenza (i.e., Flu) deaths. Again, seniors are 83.5% of deaths. The flu death rate is about 1 per 1,000. COVID-19 death rate is 1-2 per 100, perhaps lower in people under the age of 55 and higher for those over age 55.
Countermeasure: Self-quarantining seniors will help flatten the curve and prevent overwhelming healthcare. Reopening the economy will still cost lives, but may still prevent larger problems.
Here’s more detail by age group.
Another Root Cause
My mom lived in a retirement community for 10 years before she passed. Retirement homes, like packing plants, prisons and student dorms, share a small communal dining area. Mom had breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, visiting different friends at every meal. She talked to the staff every day as well. She would have been a super spreader. The dining area staff worked other wait staff jobs and took shifts at the retirement home for extra income.
You have to use your hands to get food to your mouth. Infected dinnerware and silverware could easily infect an entire community.
Small shared dining areas are a likely root cause of the spread of the disease among the elderly. At my mother’s facility, if one person got the flu, they would ask everyone to stay in their apartments. Meals were delivered every day until they were certain the disease had not spread.
This is why restaurants will open at reduced capacity, to reduce contact.