Covid and Other Chronic Illness

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According to the CNN Health article, during the Covid-19 pandemic doctors and hospitals prioritized Covid cases rather than some chronic diseases. “Shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain, fatigue and brain fog — those are just some of the ongoing complaints of a growing number of people, many of whom had only mild cases of acute Covid-19.”

Meghan O’Rourke, author of a recent book The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness and contributor for The Atlantic and Scientific American told MPR Fresh Air that as the coronavirus pandemic was starting to unfold in the U.S., she was expecting “the prospect of a tremendous wave of chronic illness that would follow.”

“The hardest part of being ill was that I didn’t feel I had any advocate on my side who even believed fully in the reality of what I was describing to them. When you’re at the edge of medical knowledge, the lack of evidence is treated as evidence that the problem is you and your mind. … I felt, in a sense, kind of locked away in a room like a 19th-century hysteric,” O’Rourke told Fresh Air.

US News health reporter Steven Ross Johnson writes in a recent article that the Covid pandemic had devastating impact on US health care system and its affect on other chronic diseases.

“In particular, the pandemic – now at its two-year mark – has played a pivotal role in changing the health landscape by hindering chronic disease management for many patients, raising the specter of more severe illness for many with underlying health conditions. Such factors are likely contributors to increases in mortality for some of the leading causes of death in the U.S., such as Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes,” writes Johnson.

Many of the conditions and issues that need to be addressed with diabetes have been delayed for a really long time. That’s a significant factor that unfortunately we’ll continue to see the implications of over time.

– Dr. Robert Gabbay, chief scientific and medical officer for the American Diabetes Association (source: US News)

Johnson writes “Though it’s difficult to gauge precisely how delays in disease management and other factors will affect the nation’s health in the long term, experts agree a positive that’s come out of the pandemic has been health care’s ability to rapidly transition to provide care to patients remotely.”

Coronavirus-19 vaccination watch

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID vaccination tracker page (as of March 22, 9 a.m.) 698,418,375 doses have been distributed and 558,649,472 doses administered.According MDH COVID-19 Response vaccine data a total of 9,489,041 doses of Covid-19 (Pfizer & Moderna) vaccines have been administered in Minnesota. According to the MDH latest tally (as of March 22) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 1,426,056 (out of 19,179,239 tested) with 12,340 deaths.