(NBC News) The spread of the COVID-19 virus has been especially cruel to the elderly.
Deadly outbreaks have hit nursing homes across the country.
More than 400 facilities have reported coronavirus cases among residents and staff.
The death toll at one San Antonio facility reached well into double digits, and at least 21 lives were lost at a home in Louisiana.
Doctors say the elderly are more vulnerable because their immune systems are weaker and they often have multiple medical conditions.
They also don’t recover as quickly as younger patients.
“Ability to bounce back from these viral illnesses, we call that homeostenosis or decreased physiological reserve,” explains Dr. Ardeshir Hashmi, Director of Geriatric Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. “Younger people have more of an ability to bounce back from these things, older people not as much.”
Dr. Hashmi says facilities need to practice the basics, like hand washing and proper hygiene, and while visitors may be restricted, residents need to feel connected.
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