Did shutdowns go too far?
Calling this a “remarkable study,” an editorial written by Darryl P. Leong, MBBS, PhD, John W. Eikelboom, MBBS, and Salim Yusuf, MBBS, DPhil, all from McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont., suggests that perhaps health systems in some places went too far in closing down during the first wave of the pandemic, naming specifically Canada, Eastern Europe, and Saudi Arabia as examples.
“Although these measures were taken to prepare for the worst, overwhelming numbers of patients with COVID-19 did not materialize during the first wave of the pandemic in these countries. It is possible that delaying so-called nonessential services may have been unnecessary and potentially harmful, because it likely led to delays in providing care for the treatment of serious non–COVID-19 illnesses.”
Since then, more experience and more data have largely allowed hospital systems to “tackle the ebb and flow” of COVID-19 cases in ways that limit shutdowns of important health services, they said.
Given the more pronounced effect in low- and middle-income countries, they stressed the need to focus resources on ways to promote prevention and treatment that do not rely on diagnostic procedures.
“This calls for more emphasis on developing efficient systems of telehealth, especially in poorer countries or in remote settings in all countries,” Dr. Leong and colleagues conclude.
Dr. Wadhera has reported research support from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, along with fellow senior author Robert W. Yeh, MD, MBA, who has also received personal fees and grants from several companies not related to the submitted work. Dr. Einstein, Dr. Leong, Dr. Eikelboom, and Dr. Yusuf have reported no relevant financial relationships.
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