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CDC tells high-risk groups to prepare for lockdown

Updated Mar 10th, 2020 5:13PM EDT
coronavirus news

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  • The CDC has told individuals in high-risk groups to prepare for extended stays at home. 
  • High-risk groups include individuals over 60 years of age as well as people with diabetes and other chronic illnesses. 
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have updated their stance on the risk that the coronavirus infection COVID-19 poses to individuals in high-risk groups. With the virus spreading in bursts around the United States, the CDC now says that individuals over the age of 60 and those with chronic conditions such as diabetes should be prepared for extended isolation at home with no traveling.

The US Government has shied away from even discussing the possibility of a large-scale lockdown but other, harder-hit countries have already taken that drastic measure. On Monday, Italy announced a country-wide lockdown, and China had extensive quarantine rules in place for weeks in order to curb the spread of the illness.

Of the over 100,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection, those who suffered the greatest health concerns were in high-risk groups such as the elderly. Those with heart disease and diabetes should also consider themselves included in this group. This is often the case with viral infections, but dealing with a large-scale outbreak like this new coronavirus has made things particularly difficult.

Shortages of testing kits, supplies, and price gouging for common household goods has placed increased stress on individuals looking to protect themselves from long-term impact. Those with compromised immune systems or existing health conditions may feel like they shouldn’t travel to stores in order to purchase the supplies they need, instead choosing to rely on online sellers who are, in some cases, jacking up their prices.

“It’s fair to say that, as the trajectory of the outbreak continues, many people in the United States will at some point in time, either this year or next, be exposed to this virus and there’s a good chance many will become sick,” Nancy Messonnier of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases told reporters. “This seems to be a disease that affects adults and most seriously older adults. Starting at age 60, there is an increasing risk of disease and the risk increases with age.”

The CDC’s advice to those in high-risk categories is to stock up on medication for their existing conditions and ensure they have enough groceries and other vital household items on hand for an extended stay at home. Since it’s difficult, if not impossible, to estimate the length of time such a voluntary lockdown could or should last, the CDC can’t offer any specific guidance on how large such a stockpile should be.

In states where the virus is spreading, retailers have already seen hoarding behavior. You don’t have to look far to find reports of empty shelves for things like bleach, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies. This, of course, complicates things further, and makes it more difficult for individuals in high-risk groups to stock up on the items they need ahead of time.