As the next wave of the pandemic unfolds, the rise in cases is once again straining health care systems. But that’s not the only reason hospitals and health systems could experience an influx of emergency or critical care visits. Findings from the National Poll on Healthy Aging based at the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation revealed that nearly one in three Americans between the ages of 50 and 80 put off an in-person appointment for medical care in 2020 because they were worried about potential COVID-19 exposure, and with the emergence of new variants, that trend could continue.
There is a growing concern that patients will either see a relapse in their illness or will experience new complications as a result of waiting too long to visit the doctor. Put simply, there could essentially be two health crises crowding the system: those who have tested positive for the coronavirus, and those who delayed routine preventative and ongoing care for ailments such as chronic disease or mental health