Rates of hospitalizations for serious, acute conditions that require timely care fell sharply in March—when the coronavirus first took hold in the U.S.—according to claims data from insurer Cigna Corp. The rates of admission for transient ischemic attacks, or “mini strokes,” fell 31%, it said, while those for epilepsy and seizures fell 28%. The admission rate for acute coronary syndromes—which include heart attacks and unstable angina—fell 11%. Those drops are the largest the company has ever seen, according to Glen Stettin, senior vice president and chief innovation officer of Cigna’s Express Scripts.
“It suggests that people are afraid to go to the hospital right now and are trying to deal with these problems at home,” he said. “But these are life-threatening events. The danger of these conditions is much greater than the theoretical danger of getting Covid-19 at the hospital.”
A poll of 2,201 adults by the American College of Emergency Physicians and Morning Consult found that four in five respondents were concerned about contracting the virus from another patient or visitor if they went to the emergency room. Nearly a third of those polled in mid-April said they have actively delayed or avoided seeking medical care because of concerns about getting the virus.