Almost 41% of US adults avoided getting medical care during the pandemic because of concerns about Covid-19, including 12% who avoided urgent or emergency care and 31% who avoided routine care, according to a new survey of almost 5,000 US adults conducted online during the last week of June.

“These findings align with recent reports that hospital admissions, overall emergency department (ED) visits, and the number of ED visits for heart attack, stroke, and hyperglycemic (high blood sugar) crisis have declined since the start of the pandemic, and that excess deaths directly or indirectly related to Covid-19 have increased in 2020 versus prior years,” Mark Czeisler of the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues wrote.

The consequences of delaying or avoiding routine medical care, while less immediate than missing urgent or emergency care, include early detection of new conditions, missed opportunities to manage chronic conditions and missed routine vaccinations.

The survey found that those most likely to skip urgent or emergency care are those who are at increased risk for more severe Covid-19 disease.

For example, almost 23% of people with two or more underlying medical conditions said they skipped emergency care compared to 8% of those without comorbidities. And 23% of Black and 25% of Latino adults skipped emergency care compared to 7% of White adults.

“Increased prevalences of reported urgent or emergency care avoidance among Black adults and Hispanic adults compared with White adults are especially concerning given increased Covid-19-associated mortality among Black adults and Hispanic adults. In the United States, the age-adjusted Covid-19 hospitalization rates are approximately five times higher among Black persons and four times higher among Hispanic persons than are those among White persons,” the researchers wrote. 

The study was published Thursday in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly report on death and disease.

Source : CNN

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