COVID-19 – collateral damage

Numbers of people tested, how many are infected, geographical hot maps, who ends up  on the ICU and mortality. Statistical assumptions, trajectories and epidemiological models. 

There are dozens of websites with live data.  All of us have access to theses numbers Everyone is now a COVID expert and a statistician.

But are we really seeing the entire problem?

The fight against COVID-19 is clearly important, but do we also have an eye on the collateral damage?

Simple appendicitis

A patient of mine had a ruptured appendix, stayed at home for too long in fear of getting infected by the SARS CoV-2 virus. This is a common phenomena now – patients are afraid to go to the ER. 

He finally did get surgery but then needed an ICU bed. Eventually, it was possible to find one. But I bet others were not that lucky. I hope he will survive.

Oncologists already warn that there will be a large increase in newly discovered cancer within a few months and years. Cancer screening has almost come to a complete halt. 

Resources for cancer patients are now scarce, waiting times for surgery radiation and chemotherapy are longer than ever.

Presently, I would not want to have a condition, which requires urgent treatment. Clearly the number of primary percutaneous coronary interventions (PPCI), the gold standard for treating a myocardial infarction (STEMI) will drop. Lack of resources and the need to protect those who perform the procedure will prevent more patients from receiving optimal therapy.

The list is endless. 

My prediction? A few months down the road we will be looking at different statistics. I am afraid the numbers that we will be looking at then are far more devastating than those related to COVID-19.

But will these numbers get the same amount of attention?

What are your thoughts?


Thomas Binder

Related Articles