COVID-19 is a very serious disease, causing illness, death, disability, unemployment, devastation of small businesses, hunger, educational losses, and racial and social inequities. Researchers are now finding another negative impact of the current pandemic: people delaying care for serious non-COVID-19 conditions, such as heart attacks and stroke. In this new study, researchers looked at hospital admissions in New York and California during the pandemic. They found fewer people hospitalized for non-COVID-19 conditions than in prior years. This means that people are not getting necessary hospital care for their medical issues, even in emergencies like heart failure, because of the pandemic. On a positive note, some forms of care have been successfully changed during the pandemic, such as increasing remote visits (telehealth) and home blood pressure monitoring. This helps people avoid other infections. However, avoiding care and treatment for stroke and other medical emergencies can be harmful. Many patients are worried about putting themselves or their families at risk of COVID-19 by going to the hospital. Some may be forced to delay care because of lost income, loss of insurance, or child and elder care. Others could be affected by grief, anxiety, or depression, making it harder to seek care. The importance of seeking urgent and preventive care (such as cancer screening) should be publicized and reinforced by doctors.


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