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Free Press: Pandemic highlights widespread societal ageism

October 28, 2020 — 

As the Winnipeg Free Press reports:

Ever since whispers of a virus began trickling into the mainstream, Dr. Michelle Porter had a sense that her area of expertise — aging — would soon become increasingly relevant.

She heard reports and commentary from hotspots in Asia and Europe early in 2020 that the novel coronavirus was “just” or “only” killing elderly people. Somehow, despite hundreds of people of all ages in hospital or facing death at home, the severity of the situation was being downplayed as a niche threat facing older individuals.

There were morbid suggestions, including by the lieutenant-governor of Texas, that seniors should sacrifice their lives in order for the economy to continue functioning.

“Ageism hasn’t been made worse by the pandemic,” says Porter, the director of the University of Manitoba’s Centre on Aging. “It’s just highlighting that it exists.”…

“It’s a form of discrimination that has largely remained acceptable,” said Porter.

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