The COVID-19 pandemic has created a sense of fear among the general public in visiting hospitals, as witnessed in the responses to a recent poll conducted by Verdict.

The poll asked whether the COVID-19 emergency caused a reluctance to go to a hospital for medical treatment.

Analysis of the results shows that patients are reluctant to visit hospitals in fear of contracting the disease, while hospitals too have closed out-patient wards for treatment.

A majority 79% of the respondents chose that they would avoid going to a hospital at any cost, while just 21% felt they would not avoid going to a hospital.

Reluctance in going to hospital during COVID-19

The analysis is based on 426 responses received between 30 April and 18 May.

Impact of COVID-19 outbreak on hospital visits and diagnostics

The COVID-19 pandemic has made people reluctant of visiting hospitals due to fear of catching the coronavirus. With health officials and governments advising against visiting hospitals, these fears have only compounded.

People with serious medical conditions such as heart disease are avoiding visiting hospitals due to the coronavirus outbreak. A study conducted by the American College of Cardiology has revealed that the number of patients treated for severe heart attacks has dropped by 40% after the COVID-19 outbreak in the US.

Detection and monitoring of cancer fell by 69% between mid-March and mid-April, according to a report from Komodo Health. Oncologists fear that cancer patients may migrate to the next stage of the disease in the absence of timely diagnosis and treatment.

Hospitals are implementing a range of safety measures to allay the fears of patients, such as using plexiglass dividers, advance testing of patients, temperature checks, providing disinfectant wipes, and mandating wearing of masks.

Despite the safety measures, hospitals continue to advise patients with mild symptoms to opt for telehealth services to determine whether a hospital visit is actually needed. Based on the need, patients are either advised online or asked to visit the hospitals with all the necessary precautions in place.