Special care needed for vulnerable groups: China Daily editorial
Finally, Shanghai residents can see some light at the end of the tunnel as the city enters the fifth week of a lockdown, with the easing of restrictions and control measures on infection-free areas.
Yet the city is not out of the woods yet. On Thursday, the authorities announced 1,292 new novel coronavirus infections and 47 deaths, bringing the total number of deaths in the city to 285 in the latest wave of the virus.
All the 47 people who died suffered from serious underlying diseases, such as extremely high-risk high blood pressure, diabetes, uremia or intestinal cancer. Their average age was 84.7.
The data show that the fatality rate in the city of those aged above 80 exceeds 10 percent, almost 100 times that of an ordinary flu. And in the municipality-level hospitals in Shanghai, around 30 percent of the people hospitalized with COVID-19 are patients above the age of 70, most of whom are also suffering from chronic diseases.
It should not be forgotten that these dispassionate statistics refer to flesh and blood people with family and friends. The impassive figures highlight how important it is to take special care of vulnerable residents, such as the elderly.
According to the seventh national census, 5.8 million, or 23.4 percent of Shanghai residents are aged above 60, making it one of the cities with the largest population of elderly residents anywhere in the world. Among these senior residents, hundreds of thousands suffer from chronic diseases.
And the elderly are not the only vulnerable group. Pregnant women also need special care. They need regular checkups during the whole pregnancy period, while those near their delivery date might require medical assistance at any time.
With many districts being under strict prevention and control restrictions limiting people’s movements, how to ensure the smooth running of ambulances and simple hospital entry procedures may be a matter of life and death to mother and child.
How to take care of these and other vulnerable groups amid the epidemic is a major challenge. The Shanghai authorities have rendered the uttermost efforts to rise to the challenge. As proved by the fact that several senior citizens aged above 100 — the oldest being 107 — have been successfully treated for COVID-19 and discharged from hospital.
Shanghai has struggled for two months to gain the upper hand on the virus, and that objective is now within sight. It has been a tough struggle, but every life should be cherished, and that is what the city has strived to do in implementing the dynamic clearing policy.