Pandemic Effect: All Other Healthcare Visits Can Wait

Richard Franki

May 05, 2020

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

A majority of adults are reluctant to visit health care providers unless the visit is related to COVID-19, according to survey conducted at the end of April.

When asked how likely they were to visit a variety of health care settings for treatment not related to the coronavirus, 62% of respondents said it was unlikely that they would go to a hospital, 64% wouldn't go to a specialist, and 65% would avoid walk-in clinics, digital media company Morning Consult reported May 4.

The only setting with less than a majority on the unlikely-to-visit side was primary physicians, who managed to combine a 39% likely vote with a 13% undecided/no-opinion tally, Morning Consult said after surveying 2,201 adults on April 29-30 (margin of error, ±2 percentage points).

As to when they might feel comfortable making such an in-person visit with their primary physician, 24% of respondents said they would be willing to go in the next month, 14% said 2 months, 18% said 3 months, 13% said 6 months, and 10% said more than 6 months, the Morning consult data show.

"Hospitals, despite being overburdened in recent weeks in coronavirus hot spots such as New York City, have reported dips in revenue as a result of potential patients opting against receiving elective surgeries out of fear of contracting COVID-19," Morning Consult wrote, and these poll results suggest that "health care companies could continue to feel the pinch as long as the coronavirus lingers."

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