Should the elderly be going outside to run errands?
Very practical and important question! Answer is now NO per emergency update by Gavin Newsom 3/15/2020.
Elderly people are at HIGH RISK of developing severe disease, so our community approach is to minimize their exposure wherever possible.
I agree with the CDC recommendation for HIGH RISK individuals who may need to be quarantined at home (or stay home from work, etc.) for an extended period of time: such individuals should have an “adequate” supply of essential items at home:
- Medications (don’t rely on mail order)
- Over the counter medications
- Cleaning supplies, chiefly SOAP
- HEALTHFUL FOOD (I’m not happy with all the junk/frozen/processed food flying off the shelves)
- Other goods like toilet paper are important to have on hand, too.. though my local costco shoppers seem to prioritize this over all else..
If you are elderly, it is still important to take care of your physical and emotional well being. Your safety going outside (such as a walk down the street for exercise) depends on many factors, chiefly where you live (population density, pedestrian traffic) and community transmission risk. The easy answer is living in an urban area without much foot traffic and lots of nature: this represents a LOWER risk for disease transmission. High density city dwellers may benefit from going outside to walk at the LEAST busy times, if possible.
Updated 3/15/2020: per Gavin Newsom’s address, ALL elderly >65yr and individuals at high risk of developing severe disease are to be on HOME ISOLATION