The coronavirus pandemic has taught us a lot about medical preparedness. From mild diseases like the common cold to deadly infectious agents like the virus that caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), it takes effective preparedness to keep our communities safe from potentially deadly pandemics that can spread globally in days masters in public health online no gre.
Now that the dust has settled on the ravages of the pandemic, it’s time to draw some lessons from the ordeal. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we do things, from how we work and earn a living, to how we shop, to how we access healthcare.
It’s the access to healthcare that gives rise to several questions about what will happen long after the pandemic is over.
Telehealth services skyrocketed during the Covid-19 pandemic as people avoided visiting clinics and hospitals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that telehealth services increased about 50% during the pandemic.
While some of this increase is due to a temporary loosening of regulatory restrictions on telemedicine, healthcare providers agree that the rise in virtual medical appointments will likely continue well after the pandemic has ended.
Stay-at-home orders mean many people have more time on their hands, are cooped up inside their homes, and are unable to explore alternative medical options, some have gone on to try acupuncture virtually. The CDC also found an increase in virtual acupuncture appointments since March 2020 with a rise from 1/10th of a percent of visits in February 2020 to 7% of visits in May 2020.
Not only were accessing healthcare services in vogue during the pandemic but there was also an increase in student enrollment into online health degree programs, as demand for nurse and public health practitioners increased. Because of the pandemic, public health programs, like the masters in public health online no gre, are taking on enrollments with relaxed admission requirements, to facilitate and incentivize students.
Wearing a mask can be useful
A mask reduces the spread of Covid-19 by trapping potentially virus-loaded droplets from reaching others. The mask should cover your nose, mouth, and chin.
The material from which your mask is made should be breathable, washable, and shouldn’t lose shape when dried. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
Regular hand washing can stop the spread of germs
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been to a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water aren’t readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Spread the liquid thin on the whole of your hands until dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Vaccines are powerful tools to combat viruses
Vaccines are powerful tools that can be used in preventing infectious diseases from spreading and help save lives. Early during the SARS outbreak in 2003, Dr. Margaret Chan (then director-general of the World Health Organization) said: “We need a vaccine.” That was true then for SARS, and it is true now for COVID-19.
The coronavirus has given us yet another example of how effective vaccines can be in combatting viral diseases. While they aren’t perfect — they don’t protect everyone who gets the virus, and they aren’t always effective against mutated viruses — vaccines can dramatically reduce the risk of contracting infection, the chances of getting sick, and the risk of death for those who do get infected.
Anthrax, cholera, diphtheria, hepatitis A and B, measles, mumps, polio, rabies, rubella, tetanus, and yellow fever are all examples of diseases that were once common but are now rare thanks to vaccines. The coronavirus vaccine is likely to be added to that list someday.
Mental health is in decline
The pandemic exacerbated mental health issues worldwide, and it is likely to be most challenging for those with pre-existing psychiatric disorders.
The Covid-19 pandemic has upended our daily lives. It has killed many and put countless others at risk for serious illness. The fear and paranoia caused by all this have affected people’s mental health.
In response to the challenges posed by Covid-19, we have seen major changes in lifestyle behaviors and in how we interact with others. For example, almost everyone now wears masks, avoiding physical contacts like shaking hands or hugging, and staying away from crowded places.
In addition, many have gotten used to working from home consciously avoiding group gatherings outside their own homes.
The stay-at-home orders along with the social isolation experienced by people cooped up inside their homes have negatively affected mental health and general well-being. Social isolation can also be associated with increased stress levels, anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders.
The social isolation imposed by the pandemic may have particularly strong effects on individuals with pre-existing psychiatric disorders that are being treated with psychotherapy or medications. These include individuals with depression, bipolar disorder, or substance use disorders (SUDs).
The pandemic did not affect everyone uniformly
COVID-19 is not just a health crisis. It also has become a political and economic crisis, impacting every aspect of our lives.
As much of the world continues to grapple with this pandemic, some lessons have emerged from it so far. In particular, there are things we have learned about how our medical system has responded to the COVID-19 outbreak, and what can we do in the future to ensure that we’re well-prepared for another pandemic.
The pandemic has exposed the disparities in medical care and access across different socioeconomic segments and among the different racial and ethnic groups. These disparities have been seen in both increased rates of infection as well as increased risk of death due to COVID-19 among certain groups.
In New Jersey, for example, the black population was more likely to contract COVID-19 than the white population during the first few months of the pandemic. Additionally, in New York City, black and Latino populations were more likely to die from COVID-19 than the other racial groups.
The pandemic, although far from over, brought practical medical lessons for the future. With millions impacted by it, we should strive for a more efficient, resilient healthcare system that is not only well-staffed but also accessible to all.