Senate Aging Committee Members Led by Collins, Casey Call on HHS to Protect Older Adults from Coronavirus

The COVID-19 fatality rate is significantly higher—nearly 15 percent—in patients 80 and older

Click HERE to read the Senators’ letter.


Washington, D.C.—Following the confirmation of community transmission of the coronavirus—known as COVID-19—in the United States, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bob Casey (D-PA), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Aging Committee, led a letter urging the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to take action to protect seniors from the virus. 


In their letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, 12 members of the Aging Committee pointed out that older Americans are at much higher risk of deadly complications related to COVID-19.


“As members of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, we write to highlight the unique health needs of the more than 50 million older adults in the United States in light of the Department’s ongoing efforts to protect Americans from the COVID-19 outbreak,” the Senators wrote.


“We are particularly concerned about community spread in the United States, given the fact that older adults abroad have been the most affected by this outbreak in terms of mortality.  This is compounded by the developing situation at a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington,” the Senators continued.  “In recognition of age and health conditions affecting susceptibility, it is important that the Department consider the unique health needs of older Americans in all aspects of the domestic response, from hospital preparedness to the impact of drug shortages to vaccine development.”


According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the COVID-19 case-fatality rate (CFR) among older patients was significantly higher – nearly 15 percent in patients 80 and older and eight percent in patients ages 70-79 – than the CFR in the general patient population, which was less than three percent.


The Aging Committee members who signed Senators Collins and Casey’s letter included, Senators Rick Scott (R-FL), Doug Jones (D-AL), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tim Scott (R-SC), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), and Mike Braun (R-IN).


Click HERE to read the Senators’ letter.