In the weeks after COVID-19 was deemed a national emergency and numerous states were put on lockdown, emergency-room visits for other medical services declined by approximately 42 percent as Americans avoided hospitals during the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say. In a new report published Monday, the CDC stated that in the 10 weeks after the coronavirus was declared a national emergency on March 13, emergency departments saw a serious decline in visits for Americans with three life-threatening conditions—heart attacks, strokes, and hyperglycemic crisis. The data shows that during those weeks, visits declined by 23 percent for heart attacks, 20 percent for strokes, and 10 percent for hyperglycemic crisis.
“At least one in five expected U.S. ED visits for [myocardial infarction] or stroke and one in 10 ED visits for hyperglycemic crisis did not occur during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report states. “Patients might have delayed or avoided seeking care because of fear of COVID-19, unintended consequences of recommendations to stay at home, or other reasons.” The CDC said public-health and health-care professionals need to reinforce the importance of timely care for acute health conditions—noting that emergency departments play a critical role in treating acute conditions that might result in death. It adds that facilities are equipped to ensure the safety of both patients and health-care personnel.