‘Guards of Gold’: IDF plan unveiled to protect elderly during pandemic

The mission: To supply food, medicine and other necessities to this most at-risk population.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The IDF has taken upon itself a new mission, to protect the population most at risk during the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Defense announced Tuesday.

“The IDF and the Ministry of Defense are taking responsibility for protecting the elderly population of the State of Israel,” Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said.

“The coronavirus harms the older populations much more severely than the young. And so, at the heart of the national plan is to protect the elderly and at-risk populations.”

Called “Guards of Gold,” the plan calls for about a thousand soldiers in the Home Front Command to start providing food and medication to the elderly who are shut in their homes for their own protection.

Local authorities will work with the defense establishment to locate the golden-agers and map out their other basic needs as well. This will include various ways of helping them deal psychologically with their prolonged isolation.

The danger to senior citizens is backed up by the studies done so far on the virulent disease.

A report last week by the Center for Disease Control said that in the United States, fully 80 percent of deaths associated with the COVID-19 virus were among adults aged 65 and over, and that this finding was “similar to reports from other countries.”

According to a BBC report Tuesday, the UK’s scientific advisers “believe that the chances of dying from a coronavirus infection are between 0.5% and 1%” in general. However, Imperial College London also estimated that the risk doubles for those in their sixties, climbs to five percent for those in the seventh decade of their lives, and reaches over nine percent for those 80 and up.

Physicians have also noted that those with underlying health problems such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, diabetes and high blood pressure are also at much greater risk, and the elderly are far more likely to suffer from these conditions than the general population.

The plan is expected to be completed and presented to Bennett for his approval in the coming days.