The Covid pandemic has entailed a range of restrictions on our freedoms. It has led lawmakers to act in ill-liberal ways that go beyond what is actually necessary. There are two areas of concern in this post:
The first is how age is used in quarantines. Too much is being made of age and health status, when comorbidities exist for all age groups. The real risk factor though is like the bats that started this, the people who are most mobile are most likely to act as spreaders.
But policy makers focused on age I think because we are more used to age-banding than health risk banding. It is probably easier to justify discrimination as a tool of government despite being backed by poorly conceptualised data. In a French study, people did not view themselves as “older adults” for instance, and France had indeed thought of compelling those over 65 to quarantine. [Barth N et al COVID-19 and Quarantine, a Catalyst for Ageism, Frontiers in Public Health Vol 9, 2021]
The second is vaccination age banding which highlights the overall incoherence of the Covid policy space and confirms the use of ageism as national policy in many countries.
For instance, in India, more people younger than 45 years are being vaccinated than those 60 years or older, even though about half of those 60 years or older are yet to receive even a single dose. Focusing COVID-19 vaccination on people at younger ages is mainly justified by governments on the grounds of economic necessity and ageist stereotypes of older people as unproductive burdens. [Peter Lloyd-Sherlock, et al, Does vaccine ageism amount to gerontocide? Vol 398, P952-953, September 11, 2021]
Of course, now we have the problem of figuring out when the pandemic is over. The current approach is “vaccinationism”.