Friday, March 20, 2020

New York State's PAUSE stay at home order, read literally, would prevent persons over 70 from buying groceries (except deliveries?)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “stay at home” order appears to forbid residents over 70 to go out and even buy their own groceries. Presumably they can order them for delivery.  Otherwise, the language could seem to leave open the possibility of their being forcibly removed to senior centers if they don’t have family to ask for help from.  The rules take effect at 8 PM Sunday night.
The policy was called PAUSE, or policies to guarantee uniform safety for everyone.

If over 70 (or if immunocompromised) they must wear masks in the presence of others and may exercise alone but not go into a business establishment, even a grocery store.

The New York Times article this evening has link here.

I would encourage the governor to ask grocery stores and pharmacies in the state, especially in NYC, to have occasional seniors-only hours once or twice a week, usually after opening and cleaning. 

There is another article that describes hospitals in NYC already running out of equipment in some lower income areas.

Cuomo was careful not to use the words “shelter in place” which normally apply to shooters or nuclear war.   

The text of the order is here
The need to overprotect people over a certain age is related to heavy skewing of deaths in elderly populations, but younger people have needed ICU equipment sometimes.
California’s similar orders (including San Francisco's "shelter in place") don’t appear to restrict people specifically by age.


Vox Recode has an article on how seniors communicate and order food. I prefer a seniors-only hour at regular grocery however, two times a week. 

Monday, March 16, 2020

Protecting seniors from coronavirus to flatten the curve could turn out to be dangerous to their rights

Let’s just do another review of the dangers for retirees, especially those with trusts and inheritances.
California has asked people over 65 to stay at home, period. 

The UK was going to make this mandatory for people over 70, as part of an ill-conceived plan the get younger people to develop “herd immunity” with mild cases (Atlantic article)
Maybe they will back off, it’s not clear.
There would be a particular danger that a senior who could not comply 100% with such an order could be placed into conservatorship or guardianship if a state wanted to be aggressive on such a policy. He or she could lose complete control of their own life and ability to use assets, even in their own name.  In a few cases where these ideas have been proposed, there have been suggestions that the senior should find someone to deliver food to them – ask for help on social media, which is pretty humiliating. Someone who did not have family connections could conceivably be moved to an institution, which might even be more dangerous.  This could effectively punish someone for not having a relationship or having had kids. Maybe that would meet legal challenge. But this could all fit into “flattening the curve”.
For the most part, the disposition of trust assets are controlled by trust texts and give a lot of weight to the stated rights of beneficiaries, in most states. However, there could be tremendous political or social pressure of people with inherited assets to attempt to make people who lose jobs in these shutdowns whole, to the extent that various other legislated policy proposals (mandatory paid sick leave) or continued payment by employers, or even business interruption insurance, fail.

It is very encouraging that some grocery stores are starting senior-only shopping ours, to allow seniors to remain segregated while doing essential shopping. This reported in Houston and in New Jersey so far.
Picture: Lake in Nevada from a plane (2018), and I won't try to fly until August at the earliest. 

Friday, March 06, 2020

CDC says persons over 60 should stay home as much as possible, to protect the community hospitals from a surge of severe COVID19 cases

CDC (as of Thursday, March 5) has issued new "voluntary" guidelines suggesting that persons over 60 or with any number of diseases (diabetes, cancer with chemotherapy) should try to stay home as much as possible. Here is the CNN link

However the CDC guidelines on staying home, read literally, “If COVID-19 is spreading in your community”…   so taken literally it does not apply to everyone over 60.

Micheal Osterholm and William Schaffner (Minnesota, Vanderbilt) both said that they themselves are over 60 and try to follow these guidelines.  This seems quite extreme as many people are in good shape at 60. 

The guidelines seem to be an attempt to reduce the number of infections in seniors so that hospitals (and nursing homes) won’t be suddenly be overwhelmed by critical care and ventilators, so this request sounds like a “community measure”.
I would hope that they would not take away senior’s driver’s licenses, or right to use Metro or rude anything as a (rather Marxist) “community step”.
The video – look at about 38:00.   

Sunday, March 01, 2020

How coronavirus outbreak could affect retirees with inherited assets especially

I wanted to make a sobering comment again about the current epidemic of COVID-19.
First, the markets.  You have to expect a lot of erosion of assets because many activities in the global economy are frozen.  Not only supply chains, it will be tedious for many people to be productive at work, and to avoid the quarantine traps.
Retirees often volunteer, and indeed feel pressure to do so, and many want to.  Volunteering in some cases might set up scenarios which increase the likelihood of exposure to a COV2-positive client (there are standards like being within 6 feet for a certain amount of time) and then health authorities might trace back to the volunteer.  A senior who lives alone might be unprepared for the additional tedium of isolation and could be forced into some sort of further isolation, as a penalty for volunteering. We’re not sure if this will play out, but it is a horrible moral quandary.
The latest evidence from the outbreak in Kirkland Washington this weekend (with a second death in the US) does seem to involve a nursing home, and elderly or infirm patents seem to be much more vulnerable.
Retirees who do have inherited assets would likely be expected to cover the costs to them of their own misfortune, perhaps as a perverse idea of Maoist social justice.  Inherited wealth is never as desirable and sometimes more vulnerable as a target (like in a Black Swan situation) than what you earned yourself.

Older people are much more likely to have fatal outcomes from COVID-19.  But seniors who are fit and active are probably much less vulnerable than those who are largely bedridden.  There are likely to be terrible problems in nursing homes and assisted living centers, leading to existential problems for their industries.

Election duty is tedious with long hours and somewhat militarized, and there has been talk that seniors with means should be expected to do it for Social Security. In the UK, there is talk of drafting a "dad's Arny" of retired healthcare workers to help treat coronavirus patients.
In Japan, some older seniors were expected to work on the radiation cleanup at Fukashima in 2011.