By Tyra Gordon
In nearly a year, COVID-19 is responsible for 2.46 million deaths worldwide, causing a devastating pandemic. Nationally, of the 28.1 million people who have contracted the virus, it has caused over 500,000 people to perish. What is equally alarming is that this disease has been linked to a significant increase in deaths from other illnesses. Many individuals have died from what may have been classified as a stroke or a heart attack but COVID have attributed to those deaths. There are numerous people that are asymptomatic for the virus; while they are not showing physical symptoms, their bodily organs are being silently attacked, with it manifesting itself through other sicknesses. Although strokes and heart attacks are leading causes of death, the coronavirus has caused excess deaths related to such diseases. COVID has been a global catastrophe and has bewildered the most experienced scientists and doctors, but many of the “unrelated” deaths could have been prevented if many Americans were not afraid to seek healthcare.
According to a survey conducted by Qualtrics LLC in June 2020, 40.9% of American adults have avoided medical care since the onset of the pandemic; 12% forewent urgent care, with 31.5% not going to the doctor for their routine visits. Analyzing these statistics sheds light on more harsh reality ushered in by COVID-19- many have been so paralyzed with angst and worry of contracting COVID-19 that they will avoid seeking medical care. This virus has created oblivion to other terminal illnesses, resulting in more individuals to succumb unnecessarily.
Additionally, some medical professionals are limiting physical visits and opting to conduct virtual appointments. Discussing apparent symptoms via phone or video may allow patients to be treated for surface conditions, but it does not allow doctors to uncover potential issues that may be unveiled by a patient being seen in a physical office setting. If a person is experiencing a headache and seems to display symptoms of a sinus infection, having their blood pressure checked to discover that it is elevated alerts a physician that there could be a more serious issue. Unfortunately, this once normal form of preventive care is not occurring as often as it was pre-COVID.
In July 2020, U.S. News & World Report provided the astonishing statistics that in New York City, there was a 398% increase in heart disease deaths in March and April 2020 alone; moreover, diabetes related deaths spiked to 356%. The surge in deaths was due to New York residents being afraid to seek medical assistance in the onset of the coronavirus. As the coronavirus ravished through the nation, the sentiments in New York were echoed across the country as people are literally dying from fear.
The vaccinations that have been created to combat COVID are considered to be our main hope for saving lives from this monstrous disease. Our government has put forth expectations that the vaccines will stabilize the fight against COVID and begin to normalize life as we once knew it. As the focus is on “reopening the world” and enjoying traditional past times, prayerfully, people will go back to utilizing medical care in an effort to save lives.
The aftermath of the coronavirus will be felt for years to come; many people will be forced to battle with emotional and physical scars that COVID will leave behind; hundreds of thousands of people who have fallen from this affliction have left loved ones with only their memories. In addition to the half of a million people who have died directly from COVID, we must also remember those who suffered silently and were too scared to seek out the medical attention that was desperately needed, resulting in their demise. Unbeknownst to them, they could have been suffering from COVID but without a formal diagnosis, their death is classified as another ailment. Regardless of whether or not COVID directly caused a death or if the fear of contracting COVID led to someone dying, this vicious disease has left a permanent mark on the world.