The American society, and the global community at large, has been gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic which has crippled the social, economic, and political systems. Statistics have shown that the United States has become the epicenter of the virus. According to López and Rodó (2020), the country has only 4% of the world’s total population, but it accounts for over 25% of the global coronavirus cases. It is a clear indication of the seriousness of the problem. The elderly, who are likely to suffer from conditions such as diabetes, heart problems, pressure, and other related medical conditions, are at a greater risk of succumbing to the disease than the rest of the population. Most of them are living in assisted living residences across the country. As an executive in one of these homes within the community, it has become critical to develop new safety procedures to protect these vulnerable members of the society. In this paper, the researcher will focus on restricted interaction of the residents of this home with the outside world as a measure meant to protect them from contracting the virus.
Importance of Restricting Interaction with the Outside World
The coronavirus pandemic has created unique challenges that the society was not ready to manage, especially because little was known about it when it broke out for the first time in China. The global statistics have shown that people with underlying health conditions such as those with diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and compromised immunity are at the greatest risk of dying of the disease (Kurth, Roennefarth, & Sander, 2020). Senior citizens are more likely to have these conditions hence may easily lose their lives. A good example that demonstrates the vulnerability of this population was reported in Sweden. Nearly half of all COVID-19-related deaths occurred in care homes for the elderly (Ivanov, 2020). A similar trend has been witnessed in Italy, Spain, and parts of the United States. It clearly demonstrates the danger that this disease poses to senior citizens in this community. The following discussion outlines the significance of the new safety procedure.
Firstly, the new safety procedure proposed in the thesis statement above has been identified as one of the best ways of fighting this virus as discussed in the following supporting arguments. One of the benefits of limiting their interaction with the outside world is that it keeps the virus out of the premises where the elderly live. Medical experts have explained that the best way of staying safe from the virus is to avoid interacting with people who are already infected (López & Rodó, 2020). With almost 3 million people already testing positive for the virus, it is clear that community spread has taken hold in the United States. Given the fact that the majority of those infected are asymptomatic, it is not easy to identify carriers of the virus. The best way of protecting the vulnerable is to ensure that they do not contract the virus in the first place.
Secondly, the overwhelming majority of the elderly living in care homes values the companionship they get from their colleagues. Medical research has also shown that in such environments where they can talk about their common socio-economic and health challenges with their colleagues, the elderly are more likely to lead a healthy life than when they are lonely at home (Queiroz, Ivanov, Dolgui, & Wamba, 2020). It means that forcing them to avoid interactions within these care homes may have negative health impact on them. The executive committee of this home made the decision not to create a stressful environment for these senior citizens. The only way that they could be allowed to interact freely was to ensure that the virus was kept at bay. Interaction with people outside this facility had to be limited as much as possible. Only essential services providers such as the medical staff, cleaners, cooks, and those responsible for supplying different materials could be allowed into the facility. Even then, great care was taken to ensure that these people do not pose any threat to the residents.
Finally, the settings in some of these homes also make it almost impossible for them to maintain physical distancing as proposed by World Health Organization (WHO), Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other similar bodies. The building was structured in a way that makes it necessary for residents to share washrooms, especially when they are in common areas. It is almost impossible to limit the spread of the virus in such a setting. Brooks (2020) explains that some of these senior citizens also suffer from memory loss, making it impossible to ensure that they will behave as expected. Cost was another factor that was considered when developing this new safety measure. The management realized that it would cost the facility less if such preventive measures are taken instead of managing the real problem.
Counterarguments and Misconceptions about the Topic
Some members of American society have rejected the idea of maintaining physical distance as a way of fighting the spread of the virus. As Ivanov (2020) observes, cases where people attend political rallies are becoming increasingly common at a time when cases of the virus are on the rise. There is a misconception that people will easily develop immunity against the virus after contracting it. As such, the number of people who no longer wear masks, maintain physical distance, or wash their hands regularly as proposed by the medical experts is growing. Such beliefs and practices may be counterproductive to this new safety procedure. It is possible that some of these people may opt to visit their relatives who are under the care of this facility, bringing with them the virus. This is a major challenge that the team must find a way of addressing. It is worrying that a section of the community even doubts the severity of this problem despite the numerous deaths that have been witnessed in the country (Brooks, 2020). Success of this program depends on the ability of all stakeholders to understand and appreciate its significance.
Evidence from the various sources used in this essay relates to the thesis statement and key points because they all emphasize the importance of protecting the elderly population from exposure to the virus. It is clear that senior citizens are more vulnerable to this disease, and it is not advisable to expose them to the virus with the hope that they will develop immunity. They may not recover at all, especially if they have underlying medical conditions. The new safety procedure is meant to protect these people from contracting the virus. It is possible that some members of the community, especially family members and friends of the residents, may reject the new rules, but it is the only way of protecting this vulnerable population.
Brooks, S. (2020). The new normal: How COVID-19 changed us all. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.
Ivanov, D. (2020). Viable supply chain model: Integrating agility, resilience and sustainability perspectives- lessons from and thinking beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Annals of Operations, 4(1), 1-21.
Kurth, F., Roennefarth, M., & Sander, L. E. (2020). Studying the pathophysiology of coronavirus disease 2019: A protocol for the Berlin prospective COVID-19 patient cohort (Pa-COVID-19). A Journal of Infectious Diseases, 3(2), 1-8.
López, L., & Rodó, X. (2020). The end of social confinement and COVID-19 re-emergence risk. Nature Human Behaviour, 1(12), 1-22.
Queiroz, M. M., Ivanov, D., Dolgui, A., & Wamba, S. F. (2020). Impacts of epidemic outbreaks on supply chains: Mapping a research agenda amid the COVID-19 pandemic through a structured literature review. Annals of Operations Research, 2(1), 1-38.