Cover shows the title "Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on older persons" against a solid blue background with the UN emblem on the lower left side.
May 2020
COVID-19

Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on older persons

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The COVID-19 pandemic is causing untold fear and suffering for older people across the world. As of 26 April, the virus itself has already taken the lives of some 193,710 people, and fatality rates for those over 80 years of age is five times the global average. As the virus spreads rapidly to developing countries, likely overwhelming health and social protection systems, the mortality rate for older persons could climb even higher.

Less visible but no less worrisome are the broader effects: health care denied for conditions unrelated to COVID-19; neglect and abuse in institutions and care facilities; an increase in poverty and unemployment; the dramatic impact on well-being and mental health; and the trauma of stigma and discrimination.

This policy brief elaborates on these impacts and identifies both immediate and longer-term policy and programmatic responses needed across four key priorities for action.