As the coronavirus spreads in California, many older Asians and Asian Americans — a population that’s highly vulnerable to flu and other respiratory ailments — are taking precautions to protect their loved ones, especially those who live in close contact with family members or travel frequently across the Pacific Rim.
They’re also facing the possibility that their golden years — or at least this phase of them — may not unfold as they envisioned: long-awaited family reunions, leisure activities, going on a last tour to their homeland.
Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning seniors and those with severe chronic medical conditions to “stay at home as much as possible.” One reason elderly Asian men are at risk is that many have preexisting respiratory problems due to smoking, according to experts.
The CDC’s initial data indicates that older people are twice as likely to be victims of the virus, a circumstance that’s upending countless lives.
It’s a painful reckoning for elderly Asian Americans, many of whom have endured lives of hardship. For Chang, Dinh and Hong, who collectively have survived robbery, illness and war, the COVID-19 pandemic — which has infected thousands of people and caused more than 4,000 deathsworldwide — has forced them to follow a new normal of remaining indoors and changing old habits overnight.