The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically reduced the number of routine outpatient visits made by people for fear of contracting the disease. Routine care for pregnant women, elderly patients, and infants is disturbed due to the pandemic.

Verdict has conducted a poll to assess how reluctant the COVID-19 pandemic has made people in visiting the doctor and local clinics for routine appointments.

Analysis of the poll results shows that the pandemic has made people highly reluctant to make direct visits and led to the cancellation of hospital appointments.

A majority 43% of the poll respondents agreed that the pandemic has made them more reluctant to visit doctors at local hospitals and led them to cancel their appointments. Similarly, 36% were reluctant to visit the doctor but contacted for medical advice through phone or e-mail.

Less than one-fourth (approximately 22%) of the respondents were not reluctant to visit the doctors at local hospitals due to the pandemic.

Reluctance in hospital visits COVID-19

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The analysis is based on 427 responses received between 30 April and 01 June.

COVID-19 affects routine hospitals appointments

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended that healthcare providers advice people against visiting hospitals except for emergencies to avoid contracting the coronavirus.

The recommendation led to a drastic reduction in the number of people visiting hospitals and might have instilled a sense of fear among patients as witnessed by the 60% decline in the number of visits to hospitals in the US in April, according to data from The Commonwealth Fund.

The number of telemedicine consultations, on the other hand, increased rapidly in mid-April. Despite a rebound in May, the hospital visits were still 30% lower than normal.

Disruption to immunisation could lead to other outbreaks

Regular immunisation of children was disrupted due to contraction fears, which experts believe may lead to other outbreaks. The UNICEF estimates that up to 117 million children may miss out on vaccination due to the pandemic.