COVID-19: Aftershocks

COVID-19: Aftershocks

More than 1.38 million confirmed cases and 80,000 deaths but there is still no visible end to COVID-19. A vaccine is at least 12 to 18 months away. Experts are trying to devise some cure which may at least help control the expansion of the virus. As for now, blood plasma treatment is under consideration with tests being carried out in more than 1,500 hospitals. With the Trump Administration considering reopening of various state to stabilize the frozen economy, the health officials are suggesting the government not to be rash in reopening as another wave of the coronavirus may outbreak. The pressure is at both, the economy and health.

Currently, primary healthcare is out of use. “I don’t recall there ever being a disruption to the health system like we’re seeing,” Cheryl Damberg, the director of the RAND Center of Excellence on Health System Performance told. The impact on both, health and economy, seems to not be temporary. Moreover, the term required for recovery of both the losses can’t be determined. The aftershocks of coronavirus pandemic are discussed below.

Impact on Health:

The mentioned figures of the affectees of the coronavirus are the confirmed cases. However, the number of people hospitalized is not know and is predicted to be in tens of thousands. The number is at least 86,000 as reported by the University of Minnesota in a tracking project. But those number are only those under direct impact of the virus. And still, it is not known, how many outbreaks are approaching. We all know is that until a vaccine is created, there’s no cure; only the spread can be stopped by social distancing and other safety measures.

Moreover, it can’t be said that those who recovered from the virus are again healthy as normal. Doctors say that it is still not known that whether the virus can penetrate into human cells. This may include effecting many major organs including the heart, kidney and brain. “The difficulty is sorting out long-term consequences,” says Joseph Brennan, a cardiologist at the Yale School of Medicine. Even if the patients recover, he and other doctors fear the long-term harms of the virus may affect the functioning of heart and may cause lungs damage. In some cases, neurological and mental health affects may be noticed.

Coming to the indirect impacts of the virus on health, all the cancelled surgeries and delayed doctor appointments, because of the ongoing pandemic, will have a long-lasting impact on people’s health. “One of the key concerns that practitioners in particular are having is related to the backlog that is piling up,” Ellen Nolte, professor of health services and systems research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, explained, “and the impacts this will have on medium- and long-term outcomes, in particular for people with chronic conditions.”

Following graph shows the reduction of visits to primary care between March 1 and April 5. The study was led by Ateev Mehrotra, a professor at Harvard Medical School.

Photo: Harvard University/Commonwealth Fund

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She told, “our real concern is those patients who might have deferred a visit and they’re going to have a flare-up of their chronic illness.” In case of chronic illnesses, fatalities are possible due to lack of access to primary care. Moreover, the patients recently diagnosed with heart disease or diabetes are at more risk. Their appointments can’t be delayed for a few months.

Impacts on Economy

The lockdown restrictions have paused the economy of the country and at least 14.7% people have become jobless by now. 33.3 million people have already filed for unemployment benefits since the outbreak of the virus. The White House Economic experts expect the rate of unemployment to rise to 20% if the situation remains the same. As much as 7 million people are expected to be left uninsured. A study found that from 2008 to 2010, 2,60,000 people died of cancer among including 40,000 curable cancer patients. A huge number of Americans are now losing the health insurance and the results may be the same. According to a research done in 2011, people experiencing unemployment have more chances of acute health problems and fatality.

Social Effects

Although currently no negative social effects are under consideration because of other greater losses, the impacts of social distancing and deaths with no funereal prosecutions will leave be left. It can be expected that the crisis of mental health will raise after the pandemic is controlled. With a huge number of deaths and long-term illnesses with never knowing any future outbreaks of any other virus or the same virus after mutation, the social lives of people will not be the same. The unemployment will further add to the crisis of the people socially.

The aftershocks are to be partly taken care of starting from now, so that the country doesn’t have to go through another crisis after overcoming the pandemic.

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