Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, at least 1 in 4 New York City (NYC) residents have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. While COVID-19 vaccines have reduced morbidity and mortality from COVID-19, older adults are still at higher risk of hospitalization and death: compared to those 18-29 years old, risk of death is 60-fold higher among those aged 65-74, 140-fold higher in those aged 75-84, and 330-fold higher in those aged 85 years and older. To mitigate risk, older adults are strongly encouraged to seek vaccination and booster doses as well as to employ nonpharmaceutical interventions such as reducing social contact, with the latter potentially having negative effects on their mental health. Previous studies have shown that among adults aged 60 years and older who live at home, depression symptoms were more than three times as common in the United States during COVID-19 than they were before the pandemic, and people who had less access to social support, lower income, and/or were exposed to more stressors (e.g. financial problems) reported depressive symptoms more often.
To better understand the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic on older adults living at home in NYC, we conducted a second phone survey among a cohort of older New Yorkers aged 70 years or older (70+). The findings from this second survey build on a prior survey entitled SARS-CoV-2 Impact on Lives and Views of Elderly Residents (“SILVER Study”). For the second round, we called Round 1 participants to invite them to participate in Round 2 and enriched the cohort with additional Asian older adults, a group that was underrepresented in the first round of data collection.