Demand for preventive care dropped drastically during pandemic

Anuja Vaidya (Twitter) - Print  | 

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, Americans are avoiding preventive care, including vaccinations and colonoscopies, and there is no indication that people are ready to return for these services, the New York Times reports.

While care that could not be avoided, such as childbirth in hospitals, continued, demand for care that could be delayed has declined significantly.

Data, gathered from millions of health insurance claims by the Health Care Cost Institute, shows demand for preventive care services significantly dropped over the spring and through late June. Colonoscopies dropped by 88 percent in mid-April and as of the end of June, were still 33 percent lower than usual rates.

In addition, childhood vaccinations for hepatitis, measles, whooping cough and other diseases also dropped during the pandemic. Measles vaccinations, for example, declined 73 percent in Mid-April, and were still down 36 percent as of the end of June, the Times reported.

Some health experts had predicted that the declines would be followed by a spike in demand for preventive care. But that has not happened.

"The pandemic has not played out like any of us would have hoped, and we don't see that pattern," Ateev Mehrotra, MD, associate professor of health policy at Boston-based Harvard Medical School told the Times. "Now it seems that the vast majority of that deferred care will never come back."

Read the full story here.

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