EVERYONE IS CONCERNED about possible infection with the coronavirus, but the health stakes are highest for older adults. Normal aging of the immune system and underlying medical conditions make people 60 and up more vulnerable to severe respiratory illness from COVID-19. Although most people who are infected with the coronavirus only have a mild case that feels like a common cold, others can become very sick.


“The elderly are going to be the ones who become symptomatic,” says Karen Hoffmann, an infection preventionist and immediate past president of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, or APIC. In particular, she says, older adults who also have existing conditions including lung disease,