Justice In Aging Director: Coronavirus Exposes Deep-Seated Ageism

Published: Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - 9:53am
Updated: Monday, February 22, 2021 - 12:55pm

In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, we repeatedly heard that the virus primarily affects older adults — that older adults are more likely to die from it. But framing the coronavirus as something that impacts only “old people” exposed something else: rampant ageism. 

Ageism isn’t new. If you’re over the age of 45, you’ve probably encountered it at work, according to a 2018 survey by AARP. But the coronavirus revealed just how deep-seated ageism is in our society. 

Kevin Prindiville is the executive director at Justice in Aging, a nonprofit legal advocacy group. 

"If the COVID crisis, right from the beginning, we knew it was disproportionately leading to the death of children, I think we would have been much faster to shut down as a society," he said. "So that was the first really clear example of ageism. I think a next clear example would be the crisis care standards that many states rolled out across the country."

That includes the state of Arizona.

The crisis standards of care tell doctors which patients to prioritize based on their likelihood of survival. Civil rights and disability groups have filed a formal complaint against the state over the plan.

→ Read The Latest News On The Coronavirus Disease