Reopening is a Critical Health Issue

When we began this blog, our lead article was written by A. J. Kay stating the ban on elective procedures (which includes things like heart valve replacements, bone marrow transplants, organ donations, and cancer screenings) could kill more Americans than COVID-19. Today’s op-ed in the Washington Post by the Secretary of Health and Human Services adds even more information to this argument.

Since the stay-at-home orders and ban on elective procedures began—which we fully supported at the time to prevent the potential overloading of the healthcare system—the unintended consequences have grown at an alarming rate.

  • mammograms down 87 %
  • colonoscopies down 90%
  • breast cancer surgeries reduced by 66%
  • vaccinations down 60%

These are all classed as elective procedures.

Additionally, many hospitals have experienced a 60% reduction in revenue due to the cancellation of elective procedures resulting in the furloughing of healthcare providers and creating a situation in which many rural hospitals are on the brink of bankruptcy and may be forced to close—permanently.

One has to wonder if the epidemic modelers add these and other unemployment heath risks (increases in suicides, opioid deaths and spousal abuse plus loss of healthcare benefits) to their equations?

There are not any “no-risk” solutions, but Secretary Azar makes it very clear—this is not an argument about health vs the economy. It is about health vs health.

We recommend you read Secretary Azar’s op-ed.