Skip to main content
Thematic reports

A/75/205: Impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons


22 July 2020

UN symbol





The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the human rights protection challenges facing older persons in societies around the world. While the infection spreads among persons of all ages, older persons and those with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19. Symptomatic individuals in their seventies are 20 times more likely to require hospitalization than young adults. Case fatality rates suggest a notable increase in risk after the age of 60, with progressively worse outcomes at older ages.

As the pandemic spreads in developing countries, the needs of older persons may also differ. Severe disease and mortality rates for older persons may increase even further if fragile health and social protection systems are overwhelmed. The impact on older persons has broad consequences, with prolonged lockdowns affecting the social and economic well-being of older persons, especially those living alone.

To inform a human rights-based approach to older persons in the context of COVID-19, there continues to be an urgent need for disaggregated data. This was the focus of the former Independent Expert’s thematic report to the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/45/14). This need will remain as States tackle prevention and the ongoing response to the spread of the pandemic.

Related event

Older Persons in the age of COVID-19 and Beyond: Webtalk with the High Commissioner and the Independent Expert on the human rights of older persons, 12 May 2020


Inputs received

Access the joint questionnaire (Word) in English | French | Spanish.

Member States

National Human Rights Institutions, Ombudspersons and Courts

NGOs and Civil Society Organizations (focus on human rights of older persons).


Issued By:

Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons

Delivered To:

the 75th session of the General Assembly