Kathy Sheridan on Covid-19: Compulsion to pigeonhole groups of people is damaging

Virus has introduced a new loaded label, ‘elderly with underlying conditions’

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi makes a statement about the US government’s response to coronavirus, March 23rd. Photograph: Epa/Joshua Roberts/ pool

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi makes a statement about the US government’s response to coronavirus, March 23rd. Photograph: Epa/Joshua Roberts/ pool

We get it. Covid-19 is delivering a smart kick in the communal backside. No part of our lives remains untouched. We are levelled. We are isolated, shrouded in dread, grieving for the time and the hugs of loved ones that are lost to us for now.

It’s hardly surprising if the loss is felt more keenly by older generations. Many of these are individuals who never saw themselves as “elderly” but now see time galloping away. Vulnerabilities are suddenly laid bare. Lives already fraying a little round the edges, lives already punctuated by loss and grief, lives already a little cluttered with hospital appointments that rarely end in great news were nonetheless lives that seemed grand, or at least manageable enough for their owners, until stamped with the label, “elderly with underlying conditions”.

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