The health and economic crisis like no other in the past 100 years that has been caused by coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has thrown socioeconomic inequalities and unequal access to health and social protection services into even sharper relief. It has also posed socioeconomic challenges that expose the most vulnerable groups in the population to even more severe risks and adversities than they were already facing.
One of the most vulnerable groups is older persons, whose quality of life and rights are being directly impacted by the pandemic. Scientific evidence on the evolution of the pandemic and risk factors associated with COVID-19 have shown that people of any age can contract the disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). However, older persons have a higher probability of severe symptoms, complications and death, especially those aged 80 or over. In addition, studies show that pre-existing chronic or degenerative conditions are also risk factors associated with a higher probability of severe illness and death as a result of COVID-19, and it is well known that those comorbidities are more frequent among older persons.
Hence the importance of protecting the rights of older persons during this health crisis, for which efforts must be made on two fronts. First, the right to health, which must be for all, without age-based discrimination. Second, the right to life and the right to a dignified old age until the end of one’s days.