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时间:2020-05-02 23:50来源:互联网 提供网友:nan   字体: [ ]

As doctors know too well, the disease COVID-19 can be deadly for two groups of people: those with some pre-existing health conditions and older adults, or the elderly.

Places that care for older adults are being severely1 tested in the current health crisis. Nursing homes are working hard to protect their residents from the new coronavirus. And they are helping2 these individuals deal with the issue of loneliness and possibly dying alone.

Last month in Belgium, the government ordered businesses to close and people to stay at home to limit the spread of the virus. During the first weeks of the stay-at-home order, many nursing home residents were separated from their loved ones.

Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes wanted to do something to deal with the problem. She announced that her government decided3 to let one person – in good health – visit each resident.

Wilmes told parliament that, "People can die of loneliness," and that a long period of isolation4 has "consequences."

The prime minister was criticized for her decision. The Associated Press (AP) reports that people feared visitors to nursing homes would "endanger lives and overburden the staff."

Belgium is not alone in facing the issue of whether to ease safety rules at a time when health care workers are fighting to save coronavirus patients.

Italy, Spain, Britain and France are four countries hard hit by the virus. All have banned nursing home visits to protect their sick and elderly residents.

However, some countries are rethinking that ban.

France is trying to find a middle ground. Recently, President Emmanuel Macron ordered an exception to one of the world's strongest lockdowns. It permits family members to visit loved ones at the end of their lives.

On April 20, France began allowing two family members to visit any loved one in a nursing home. But there are conditions, the AP notes. Visitors must wear a face mask and sit at least one meter away from nursing home residents. Also, they cannot put their arms around or hold residents during their 30-minute visit.

In Berlin, Germany, nursing home patients are permitted one visitor for up to one hour a day. Also, there are no restrictions5 on visits for those nearing the end of life.

The AP reports that South Africa has begun to take precautionary measures at nursing homes. However, in most of Africa, concerns about aging populations have not been as much of an issue as they are in Europe. The AP notes that Africa is the world's youngest continent (with a median age of just 19.7 years) while Europe is the oldest.

In the United States, federal government guidelines call for halting all nursing home visits except during end-of-life and unusual situations. They note that visitors should come with personal protective equipment, or PPE.

Some people in the nursing home industry warn that loneliness can be deadly.

Marc Bourquin is with the Hospital Federation6 of France, an organization that oversees7 public nursing homes. He noted8 the need for all elderly residents to have visitors. This is especially important, he adds, if the stay-at-home orders last for months.

He warned that "the risk of virus will not disappear as long as there is no vaccine9. We cannot condemn10 these people to never see their loved ones again."

However, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen Ursula warns that isolation restrictions in nursing homes might last through 2020.

"Without a vaccine," she said, "contact with the elderly must be restricted as much as possible."

She told the AP that this is "difficult and that loneliness weighs heavy. But it's about survival."

Recently, Pope Francis called on the world to pray "for those who are isolated11 in care homes for the elderly. They are afraid, afraid of dying alone."

Words in This Story

elderly – n. / adj. old or rather old : past middle age

nursing home – n. a place where people who are old or who are unable to take care of themselves can live and be taken care of

isolated – adj. separate from others

consequence – n. something that happens as a result of a particular action or set of conditions

overburden – v. to give (someone or something) too much work, worry, etc. : to burden (someone or something) too much

staff – n. a group of people who work for an organization or business

precautionary – adj. to take care of something in advance

median – mathematics : the middle value in a series of values arranged from smallest to largest


1 severely SiCzmk     
  • He was severely criticized and removed from his post.他受到了严厉的批评并且被撤了职。
  • He is severely put down for his careless work.他因工作上的粗心大意而受到了严厉的批评。
2 helping 2rGzDc     
  • The poor children regularly pony up for a second helping of my hamburger. 那些可怜的孩子们总是要求我把我的汉堡包再给他们一份。
  • By doing this, they may at times be helping to restore competition. 这样一来, 他在某些时候,有助于竞争的加强。
3 decided lvqzZd     
  • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents.这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
  • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting.英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。
4 isolation 7qMzTS     
  • The millionaire lived in complete isolation from the outside world.这位富翁过着与世隔绝的生活。
  • He retired and lived in relative isolation.他退休后,生活比较孤寂。
5 restrictions 81e12dac658cfd4c590486dd6f7523cf     
约束( restriction的名词复数 ); 管制; 制约因素; 带限制性的条件(或规则)
  • I found the restrictions irksome. 我对那些限制感到很烦。
  • a snaggle of restrictions 杂乱无章的种种限制
6 federation htCzMS     
  • It is a federation of 10 regional unions.它是由十个地方工会结合成的联合会。
  • Mr.Putin was inaugurated as the President of the Russian Federation.普京正式就任俄罗斯联邦总统。
7 oversees 4607550c43b2b83434e5e72ac137def4     
v.监督,监视( oversee的第三人称单数 )
  • She oversees both the research and the manufacturing departments. 她既监督研究部门又监督生产部门。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The Department of Education oversees the federal programs dealing with education. 教育部监管处理教育的联邦程序。 来自互联网
8 noted 5n4zXc     
  • The local hotel is noted for its good table.当地的那家酒店以餐食精美而著称。
  • Jim is noted for arriving late for work.吉姆上班迟到出了名。
9 vaccine Ki1wv     
  • The polio vaccine has saved millions of lives.脊髓灰质炎疫苗挽救了数以百万计的生命。
  • She takes a vaccine against influenza every fall.她每年秋季接种流感疫苗。
10 condemn zpxzp     
  • Some praise him,whereas others condemn him.有些人赞扬他,而有些人谴责他。
  • We mustn't condemn him on mere suppositions.我们不可全凭臆测来指责他。
11 isolated bqmzTd     
  • His bad behaviour was just an isolated incident. 他的不良行为只是个别事件。
  • Patients with the disease should be isolated. 这种病的患者应予以隔离。
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