As the medical community unearths troubling consequences for people who put off routine or emergency health care during the coronavirus pandemic, an urgent message is going out to patients: There are some medical appointments you just shouldn’t put off any longer, even if you’re nervous about venturing into a clinic or emergency room.
In the first days of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was one of many primary care doctors making tough decisions about who needed to be seen in person and who could wait a few weeks. But as weeks have turned into nearly a year, our calculus has changed.
“There was a time, early in the pandemic, when we didn’t know much about this virus. So at that time, I think hospitals and clinics closing — that made sense,” Dr. Ned Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute, tells NPR. “But that time is over. We can have patients come in and get these tests and see their doctors in person in a way that is both safe for the caregiver and safe for the patient, and the risk of transmission is low.”
Confirmed Omicron cases, deaths, and admissions
France, Israel, Denmark, and Ireland have the highest cases per capita of Omicron in the world. This shows what happens with massive surges of virus spread, even ones with 60-70% less severity.
Source: Dr. Eric Topol, Scripps Institute