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Virus exposes fault-lines in a world where 'young is good - and old is bad'

Miriam O'Callaghan


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No longer ancient to be 80: Actress Judi Dench is well settled into life as an octogenarian. Photo: Orange Tree/PA Wire

No longer ancient to be 80: Actress Judi Dench is well settled into life as an octogenarian. Photo: Orange Tree/PA Wire

PA

No longer ancient to be 80: Actress Judi Dench is well settled into life as an octogenarian. Photo: Orange Tree/PA Wire

'I hope I'm old before I die. I hope I live to relive the days gone by," sang Robbie Williams in 1997, the year I had my first child, and which feels around two weeks ago. For me, it's the silent anthem of the lockdown, since a young man in a white coat sits me down and says "you mightn't be an automatic candidate".

Not, that in my temporary emergency exile, I would be contesting an election. Rather, as he puts it, having dodgy lungs, being closer to 60 now than 50 and there being a critical lack of ICU places, were I to get Covid-19, I might not be an automatic candidate for ventilation.

"Hang on. I'm still 56, have lost stones, fast-walk 5km every day, am fitter than I was in my 30s," I protest.