As the coronavirus pandemic focuses medical attention on treating affected patients and protecting others from infection, how do we best care for people with non–Covid-related disease? For some, new risks may warrant reconsideration of usual standards of care. For others, the need to protect caregivers and preserve critical care capacity may factor into decisions. And for everyone, radical transformation of the health care system will affect our ability to maintain high-quality care. As Michael Grossbard, chief of hematology at New York University’s Langone Hospital, told me, “Our practice of medicine has changed more in 1 week than in my previous 28 years combined.”
See also: The forgotten patients of the coronavirus lockdown. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
I suspect when the modeling was undertaken and the government was being quoted various possible and undoubtedly horrific death tolls, a lockdown policy which — in the view of mathematicians and epidemiologists — would significantly mitigate this was received with open arms. But was the cost in terms of people already ill or about to become ill with other conditions taken into account? I have no doubt serious illnesses and diagnoses will be delayed and missed as a result of measures preventing people from being infected by COVID-19. Has anyone actually asked the people we are supposed to be ‘protecting’ about this?