The potential long-term impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on patients with non-communicable diseases in Europe: consequences for healthy ageing.
Aging clinical and experimental research. 2020;32(7):1189-1194
Plain language summary
Individuals with non-communicable diseases (NCD's), i.e. diseases that are not transmitted from person to person, such as diabetes and heart disease, are at a much higher risk of death from Covid-19. But for individuals who contract Covid-19 and survive, there could be considerable implications on the progression of their pre-existing condition. This review study aimed to discuss how the Covid-19 pandemic might impact management and outcomes in individuals with NCD's. The paper outlined that higher Covid-19 death rates in individuals with NCD's, will cause a decline of these diseases within populations. Although there is little peer reviewed research to support this, circumstantial reports are already suggesting lower hospital admissions for stroke and heart attacks. However it should be noted that it is obvious that this paper was written at the start of the pandemic. The paper went on to discuss that the pandemic and subsequent government actions to control the infection will affect individuals with NCD's through reductions in physical activity, social interaction, and vitamin D intake. Changes to medical management, the subsequent possibility of decreased adherence to medications and the halting of much needed research on NCD's in favour of Covid-19 research, will further exacerbate the impact on individuals with pre-existing conditions. Finally, areas upon which the healthcare system and government should be focusing in order to help individuals with NCD's were discussed. Amongst these was the acknowledgement that the public and private healthcare systems have collaborated with success and this should continue and that on-going support through technology such as Telehealth services and patient advocacy associations is a necessity. Clinicians could use this paper to understand how Covid-19 could accelerate disease progression in individuals with NCD’s and that close monitoring is essential. For individuals with NCD’s who do not have Covid-19, close monitoring would still be required to ensure that government strategies to contain the virus do not exacerbate their condition.
The early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic have focused on containing SARS-CoV-2 infection and identifying treatment strategies. While controlling this communicable disease is of utmost importance, the long-term effect on individuals with non-communicable diseases (NCD) is significant. Although certain NCDs appear to increase the severity of COVID-19 and mortality risk, SARS-CoV-2 infection in survivors with NCDs may also affect the progression of their pre-existing clinical conditions. Infection containment measures will have substantial short- and long-term consequences; social distancing and quarantine restrictions will reduce physical activity and increase other unhealthy lifestyles, thus increasing NCD risk factors and worsening clinical symptoms. Vitamin D levels might decrease and there might be a rise in mental health disorders. Many countries have made changes to routine management of NCD patients, e.g., cancelling non-urgent outpatient visits, which will have important implications for NCD management, diagnosis of new-onset NCDs, medication adherence, and NCD progression. We may have opportunities to learn from this unprecedented crisis on how to leverage healthcare technologies and improve procedures to optimize healthcare service provision. This article discusses how the COVID-19 outbreak and related infection control measures could hit the most frail individuals, worsening the condition of NCD patients, while further jeopardizing the sustainability of the healthcare systems. We suggest ways to define an integrated strategy that could involve both public institutional entities and the private sector to safeguard frail individuals and mitigate the impact of the outbreak.
COVID-19: Exposing and addressing health disparities among ethnic minorities and migrants.
Journal of travel medicine. 2020;27(7)
Plain language summary
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has swept across the world affecting all countries. As COVID-19 has spread within countries, vulnerable and marginalized populations, and those with low income and low socioeconomic status have been unduly affected. Every country has vulnerable populations that require special attention from policy makers in their response to the current pandemic. In fact, current literature shows that migrants living in refugee camps, detention centres and reception centres are at particularly high risk for COVID-19 exposure. Therefore, they should be included in national surveillance and be entitled to health care. In addition, it is essential to foster trust between public health practitioners and the leadership of these communities so that they may work together to effectively deliver prevention and intervention strategies. Authors conclude that COVID-19 pandemic has exposed health disparities among ethnic minorities and certain migrant groups. Thus, they highlight the importance of prompting greater health equity for diverse ethnocultural communities.