Tags: Heart Disease | virus fears

Virus Fears Caused Spike in Deaths From Unrelated Conditions

graphic shows a doc holding up a board showing the words 'heart disease'

By    |   Friday, 03 July 2020 11:51 AM

People who were terrified of seeking medical care during the pandemic may have died of untreated heart disease and other medical conditions, according to a new analysis.

While the coronavirus has accounted for tens of thousands of deaths, thousands more died from other health issues indirectly affected by the pandemic.

According to The Washington Post, deaths from heart problems rose 27% over historical averages in five hard-hit states and New York City during the months of March, April and May.

Experts said that many patients suffering from serious conditions died as a result of delaying or not seeking medical care.

The Post noted that during the early months of the pandemic, there were hardly any heart, cancer and stroke patients at hospitals. The new analysis revealed that more than 50 patients a day “died excess deaths just from heart disease, just in New York City,” said John Puskas, chairman of cardiovascular surgery at Mount Sinai Morningside Hospital in Manhattan. “Frankly, that would explain where all the patients went.”

In a separate study, researchers found that nearly one-third of excess deaths in the early stages of the coronavirus in the United States were linked to causes other than COVID-19, but may have been triggered by the disease indirectly.

“We’re quite concerned about indirect mortality — deaths caused by the response to the pandemic,” said Dr. Steven Wolf, director emeritus at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center on Society and Health, and the co-author of that study. “People who never had the virus may have died from other causes because of the spillover effects of the pandemic such as delayed medical care, economic hardship or emotional distress.”

According to the Post, experts said that many patients suffered through cardiac events, strokes, hyperglycemia and other health issues at home, probably because they were afraid of going to hospitals filled with COVID-19 patients.

Even those who did seek emergency care may not have been able to get the treatment they needed if the hospital was overwhelmed, said Wolf, adding that besides heart patients, the pandemic may have contributed to deaths of those suffering from cancer and diabetes.

According to an article published in Science, Dr. Norman Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), said “fear of contracting the coronavirus in health care settings has dissuaded people from screening, diagnosis and treatment for non-COVID-19 diseases. The consequences for cancer outcomes, for example, could be substantial.”

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People who were terrified of seeking medical care during the pandemic may have died of untreated heart disease and other medical conditions, according to a new analysis.
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Friday, 03 July 2020 11:51 AM
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