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My Father Is at Very High Risk of Dying from This Virus



"My father is a recent cancer patient who just completed chemotherapy. Additionally, he has heart disease and diabetes. He’s only 70, but I’m concerned about him dying from this COVID-19 virus if he gets it. I don’t live with him, but I do help him out. What steps can I take to care for him properly during this pandemic?"



I agree that your father is at higher risk than the average 70-year-old, and that more extreme measures should be taken to prevent him from contracting the COVID-19 virus. He is more likely to have a poor outcome, should he get it. Here are the steps I would recommend to protect someone like him:

  1. Ask your father not to leave his residence.
  2. Ban all visitors from entering his home (if he is independent).
  3. Tell him not to open his door to anyone.
  4. Leave groceries at his doorstep.
  5. If possible, tell him to leave dry goods in the bags for two days before unpacking them.
  6. Ask him to thoroughly wash produce before eating.
  7. Speak to him via the phone, through the window, or on the computer using Zoom.

Humans carry and spread the virus, so if he stays in his residence with no face-to-face contact with others, his risk drops greatly.

If you are your father’s caregiver and must enter his home to assist him, there are certain steps you should take to protect him in case you are a carrier of the virus:

  1. Limit your time in his residence as much as you can.
  2. Don’t come within six feet of your father unless it’s necessary.
  3. Wear a mask so that the spray from you talking is contained in the mask as much as possible.
  4. Place a mask and glasses on your father during your visit.
  5. Tell your father to wash his hands carefully with soap and water while singing the ABCs before eating or touching his face.
  6. Don’t visit your father if you notice you have lost your sense of smell and/or taste.
  7. Don’t visit your father if you have a fever, cough or shortness of breath.

You are wise to be thoughtful at a time like this and taking every necessary step to protect his health. I wish you well.


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