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Sick of COVID, many unable to isolate themselves at home

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By Robert Preidt

HealthDay reporter

WEDNESDAY February 3, 2021 (HealthDay News) – If there’s one thing Corona virus pandemic taught people that the living space you have is important when you or someone you love becomes ill with COVID-19.

But a new survey shows that the same group those most vulnerable to infection may have little room to survive the disease safely: 1 in 5 older Americans cannot isolate themselves at home when infected with the coronavirus.

Researchers also found that blacks and older Hispanics, who tend to be less healthy and have low incomes, are even less likely to have the space at home to stay isolated.

Almost a third of Hispanics surveyed (31%) said they did not have isolation space, compared to 25% of black respondents and 14% of white respondents, according to a University of Michigan online survey of more than 2,000 adults, aged 50 to 80.

People with household incomes below $ 30,000 were more than twice as likely as those with incomes over $ 100,000 not to have isolation space.

People who live in apartments were more than twice as likely as those living in single-family homes to not have a place to isolate themselves.

Isolating people infected with the coronavirus is essential to prevent others in the same living space from falling ill, the researchers noted.

This is especially important in homes with people at higher risk, such as those over 50; with underlying conditions such as obesity, Diabetes and lung disease, and with a weakened immune system.

People with COVID-19 should self-isolate in a separate room and use a separate bathroom if possible, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Research has proven that COVID-19 can easily spread in homes, which is why it is concerning that 18% of people over the age of 50 cannot afford to do so, and that percentage is rose to 27% among those who said they were in fair or poor health, which may indicate a higher risk of severe COVID-19, ”said survey director Dr. Preeti Malani, a Michigan doctor specializing in geriatrics and Infectious diseases.

Continued

“The disparities we found in the survey suggest that differences in living conditions may play a bigger role in the pandemic than we thought, and underscore the need for health providers and public health officials to advise the public on individual life circumstances, ”Malani said in an academic press release.

The poll, conducted last June and released on Wednesday, also found inequalities in another important aspect of safety and health during the pandemic: the ability to get outside for fresh air and exercise, and to meet friends, neighbors and relatives safely.

Seniors who had more access to outdoor spaces around their homes and those who could walk to green spaces like parks, gardens or woods were more likely to be able to do these things.

Yet income, race / ethnicity, and health status also affected a respondent’s chances of going out for safe activity and socialization.

More information

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on isolate during pandemic.

SOURCE: University of Michigan, press release, February 3, 2021

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