While the coronavirus continues to kill thousands of Americans every day, these pundits have focused on “surgically” protecting the most vulnerable segment of society while the rest are more quickly exposed. In the past week alone, David Katz, Avik Roy and others have rallied around the dangerous idea that we can carve out the most vulnerable among us and allow the remainder to resume full-time work, education and play.
This approach rests on two premises: 1) We can readily identify the most vulnerable individuals since they are either old or have high-risk conditions and 2) We can protect those individuals from harm once they are identified.
While it is true that fatalities have disproportionately affected the oldest among us, the median age of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in one large study is 63, indicating that half or more of such patients are of working age.
And while it is also true that many of the sickest patients have additional chronic conditions, obesity, hypertension and diabetes are highly prevalent in the general population.