I’m in my late 60s, should I self-isolate too?

People in their late 60s are feeling conflicted about whether they should take the decision to self-isolate themselves to reduce their risk of catching the coronavirus.

Speaking on Sunday Morning on the Andrew Marr Show, Matt Hancock said the government will soon tell over-70s to self-isolate for months to protect themselves from the virus.

Professor Paul Hunter, Professor of Medicine at University of East Anglia, said: “This is a very big step, but one which I consider to be absolutely the right thing to do. We know that the chance of someone dying if they get the infection is higher in older people and increases steeply over age 70.”

Geoff Moses, 67 from East Sussex is feeling conflicted about what he should do. He said: “As a 67 year old male, it’s a challenging time. Not having any obvious health issues and being relatively fit for that age is somewhat reassuring. However, no one really seems to be certain about the impact of the virus on different people. It’s a case which causes anxiety but take each day as it comes is probably the best attitude.”

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention show that the death rate for 60-69 year olds in 3.6%. While the death rate is significantly higher for 70-79 year olds, rising to 8.0%, 3.6% is still high.

Clearly, there are many nuances in the government’s decision to ask over 70s to self-isolate and people’s personal health conditions may need to be taken into consideration.

Scotland has taken a different approach to the UK. Jane Freeman, the Health Secretary in Scotland said: “We’re not planning on isolating the elderly but would instead be asking them to reduce social contact.”

Number 10 is due to start daily briefings today where the government will outline the next step.