Data collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates some people may be delaying emergency care for serious health conditions during the coronavirus pandemic.
The total number of visits to hospital emergency departments across the country for reasons other than COVID-19 fell from a mean of 2.1 million visits per week between March 31 and April 27 of last year to 1.2 million between March 29 and April 25 of this year — a 42% decrease, according to the findings published Wednesday in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The research found the “steepest decreases” in emergency department visits were among children aged 14 and younger, women and girls, and residents of the northeastern part of the country.
However, the report noted that the “proportion of infectious disease–related visits was four times higher during the early pandemic period.”
The CDC warned that fewer visits for critical conditions might result in complications or death.