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Make sure seniors are OK during shutdowns for virus

The rise of COVID-19 has Michigan and Wisconsin canceling classes both in public schools and colleges and advising people remain apart as much as possible.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer now has ordered all restaurants and bars be closed to dine-in customers, effective at 3 p.m. today, to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

It’s a recommended “staycation” that could place strain on each home’s streaming video services and internet access, much less household supplies. A number of online learning sites have dropped subscriptions or other fees while students are stuck at home. Those who are old school might decide to read a few new books.

Initially, it’s been an impressive rallying of resources to deal with this situation.

But while promoting staying home, it’s important to not forget those who already might be homebound or have limited mobility — and might not be connected by computer or smartphone to sites for information on how to cope.

The elderly are most vulnerable to COVID-19. While trying to stay safe, they will need the help of neighbors and caregivers to ensure they have what’s needed to make it through this difficult situation, when many of the usual services they’d relied on may no longer be available.

That likely will mean others doing shopping for supplies, making sure meals still can be provided as senior centers are shut down and generally keeping track of how these older residents are doing.

Yet caution is needed, too, to not potentially expose those same seniors to the virus, as it appears the highest death rates from the coronavirus have been among those age 70 and older.

So keep in regular yet careful contact with seniors who are family or neighbors to make sure they stay healthy as the nation continues to grapple with coronavirus.

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