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Who should you help during the coronavirus pandemic?
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The elderly are lonely

The elderly are particularly likely to suffer from loneliness and disconnect during the lockdown.
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Old people are at particular risk and should not leave their homes. For those that live alone, they can become lonely.

The Argument

Young, healthy people are significantly less likely to require hospitalization if they contract COVID-19. It is therefore more important for older people, for whom the health outcomes are far worse, to stay in their homes. Those that live alone will inevitably experience much higher rates of loneliness than their younger cohorts who might risk small levels of social interaction. Nursing homes are also closed to visitors, leaving residents disconnected from friends and family. Older people are less in touch with modern virtual communication methods. They are less likely to migrate online for their social interactions. They are, therefore, at much higher risk of loneliness and depression. Many organizations are looking for telephone volunteers to call and interact with elderly residents who are unable to leave their homes.

Counter arguments

Loneliness is not a life-threatening condition. Our priority must be with helping people who need medical, financial, and nutritional support at this time, not with making sure the elderly have someone to have a chat with.


[P1] We must help those most affected by coronavirus. [P2] The social ties of the elderly are the most likely to be severed by going into lockdown. [P3] Therefore, we must help the elderly.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] We must help those affected by the coronavirus in a life-threatening way. [Rejecting P2] Loneliness is not a life-threatening condition. [Rejecting P3] Therefore, helping the elderly should not be a priority.


This page was last edited on Thursday, 9 Apr 2020 at 22:06 UTC

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