With Americans practicing social distancing and taking other measures in an effort to avoid contracting the coronavirus, some may be compromising their health in the process.
More than 30% of Americans have failed to visit their doctor for a routine checkup since the COVID-19 pandemic started, according to a new survey by the professional membership organization Society for Cardiovascular Angiography & Interventions (SCAI).
Not only are consumers putting off preventive health visits, but some say they would be wary of seeking care from a hospital even in an emergency.
Coronavirus fears still run high
Even as vaccines have started rolling out across the country, nearly 40% of survey respondents said they do not feel safe going to the doctor's office as long as COVID-19 remains a risk. It is not only routine procedures that consumers are putting off either. In fact, more than half of respondents — 51% — said they do not feel comfortable scheduling any medical procedures during the course of the pandemic.
The possibility of being affected by other life-threatening conditions does not seem to be enough to sway some consumers, as 58% of respondents admitted to being afraid of contracting the coronavirus compared to a lesser 42% who are worried about having a stroke or heart attack.
The pandemic has also compounded health care challenges in other ways. For example, a ValuePenguin survey found that half of Americans had experienced challenges in obtaining necessary medications due to delays and shortages during the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, mental health concerns have risen amid the pandemic as Americans adjust to the changes instigated by the coronavirus outbreak.
Fears particularly prevalent among people of color
While fears of visiting health care centers during the pandemic were noted across the board, communities of color appear particularly reticent about seeking medical care. Only 1 in 4 — 25% — Black respondents and 29% of Latino respondents said they would be comfortable scheduling a medical procedure while COVID-19 continues to pose a risk.
With hospitals filling up with COVID-19 patients, many respondents of color expressed hesitance about going to a hospital in particular. In fact, just 33% of Black respondents and 34% of Latino respondents said they would be comfortable going to a hospital in the event of an emergency. In comparison, more than half of the general population —58% — said they would be comfortable doing so.
Methodology: SCAI conducted three different surveys in late December 2020. The first survey fielded 1,005 responses from adults and had a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error of plus or minus 3.09 percentage points. The second survey fielded 1,023 responses from Latino adults and had a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error of plus or minus 3.06 percentage points. The third survey fielded 1,041 responses from Black adults and had a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error of plus or minus 3.04 percentage points.