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Physical Activity and Exercise for Older People During and After the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic: A Path to Recovery

  • Catherine M. Said
    Affiliations
    Department of Physiotherapy, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

    Department of Physiotherapy, Western Health, St. Albans, Victoria, Australia

    Australian Institute for Musculoskeletal Science (AIMSS), The University of Melbourne and Western Health, St. Albans, Victoria, Australia
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  • Frances Batchelor
    Affiliations
    Department of Physiotherapy, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

    National Aging Research Institute (NARI), Parkville, Victoria, Australia

    School of Nursing and Midwifery, Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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  • Gustavo Duque
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Gustavo Duque MD, PhD, FRACP, FGSA, Australian Institute for Musculoskeletal Science (AIMSS), Sunshine Hospital, 176 Furlong Rd, St Albans, VIC 3021, Australia.
    Affiliations
    Australian Institute for Musculoskeletal Science (AIMSS), The University of Melbourne and Western Health, St. Albans, Victoria, Australia

    Department of Medicine-Western Health, The University of Melbourne, St. Albans, Victoria, Australia
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      The current Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has disproportionately impacted older people. The most immediately obvious impact is the devastatingly high mortality rate; 80% of reported mortalities in the United States are in people over the age of 65, and case-fatality increases with age.
      CDC COVID-19 Response Team. Severe outcomes among patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)— United States, February 12–March 16, 2020.
      Countries around the world have implemented a range of “lock down”’ and “‘social distancing” strategies to limit the spread of COVID-19, which have undoubtedly been essential in “flattening the curve” in many countries.
      • Anderson R.M.
      • Heesterbeek H.
      • Klinkenberg D.
      • et al.
      How will country-based mitigation measures influence the course of the COVID-19 epidemic?.
      ,
      • Tanne J.H.
      • Hayasaki E.
      • Zastrow M.
      • et al.
      Covid-19: How doctors and healthcare systems are tackling coronavirus worldwide.
      As countries review their restrictions and guidelines, given the high mortality and morbidity rates in older people, it is likely that older people will be advised to continue to adhere to strict lockdowns and social distancing protocols, particularly if they have other acute or chronic health conditions. These restrictions are likely to remain in place until a vaccine has been developed and widely disseminated.
      • Mahase E.
      Covid-19: What do we know so far about a vaccine?.
      ,
      • Thanh Le T.
      • Andreadakis Z.
      • Kumar A.
      • et al.
      The COVID-19 vaccine development landscape.
      Given this, it is important to seriously consider the likely medium- to long-term impact of these restrictions on the health of older people and consider ways to minimize any negative consequences.
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