THE RIPPLE EFFECT OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN HEALTHCARE
The COVID-19 Pandemic has disrupted life and changed what we knew as normal, for the past 9 months. Although the first case of COVID-19 was identified in Wuhan, China in mid-December 2019, it was coined as a Pandemic by WHO in March 2020. The COVID-19 Pandemic has impacted each and everyone and caused a ripple effect in all areas of life, the healthcare is no exception. With its novel nature, limited information, lack of resources, risky working conditions, and high spikes in cases, it has caused a massive overload on the healthcare systems. It has caused mental health disturbances not just in the frontline workers and COVID-19 survivors but also in the general public owing to uncertainty, isolation, fear, anxiety, and
misinformation. In addition to this, there has also been an increase in the prescription of antibiotics which stems from the inability to examine the patient physically and obtain samples for cultures as consultations are scheduled through telemedicine. Antimicrobial resistance(AMR) is considered to be further potentiated during the Pandemic as Antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASP) have been disrupted and there is an increase in hospital admissions and intubations of patients. Measures like lockdown and travel restrictions placed to curb the spread of the virus have negatively impacted individuals with addictions and substance use disorders (SUD’s) due to inability to access de-addiction centers, increased isolation, and inability to obtain toxicants which lead to the use of adulterated substances and in some cases withdrawal symptoms. The lockdown has also caused delays in the treatment of chronic and co-morbid diseases like Diabetes, Cardiovascular diseases, Cancer, Dialysis leading to poor disease management and progression of the disease. It has also impacted regular vaccination schedules and periodic health checkups leading to late diagnosis of diseases.
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