Family & Community

Please profile me!

April 29, 2020

Mike Brake

While the coronavirus pandemic continues to spawn scientific papers and proposed treatments, vaccines, and other responses, we know one overriding fact: its mortality and serious morbidity are largely—one could say almost exclusively—focused on patients over 65 and/or those with serious underlying medical conditions like diabetes or heart and lung disease.

Worldwide, around 80 percent of those who die of the virus are over 65, while significant numbers of the remaining 20 percent were suffering from chronic illnesses. The huge majority of otherwise healthy people under 65 who contract the virus have milder disease and less-complicated recoveries.           

So we know that a slim segment of the population makes up the vast majority of those who die or become seriously ill. We know how to identify them and we know what will preserve most of them—keep them at home and, when they must go out, assure they are masked and gloved and in venues of minimal risk of infection.           

Yet most lockdown edicts by national, state, and local governments have been of the shotgun rather than the rifle approach. Grandpa might get the bug and die! Let’s keep all the grandkids at home!

We are gutting our national economy and tossing millions out of work to protect everyone from a virus that seems to pose a real threat to just 15 or 20 percent of our population, many of whom are not even in the workforce.          

Well, I am 72 and have some underlying (though not serious) medical issues. Coronavirus would be a huge deal to me. My best guess from data so far is that I would have a 10 to 20 percent chance of dying from it should I be infected. Those are not odds I care to tempt.

So I am off work, intelligently so.  But people I work with in their 30s and 40s are in good health, and so are my grandchildren and daughter. It makes sense for them to return to work and/or school in a staged, carefully planned way. It makes equal sense to profile me and my fellow older baby boomers (and certainly the elderly in nursing homes and similar facilities).

I realize it’s politically incorrect to profile anyone and perhaps hurt their feelings. But I say go ahead, profile me. Tell me to work from home or at least in a safe environment, plan special shopping hours for me and my peers. I don’t mind being profiled—in fact, I welcome it.