At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of medical screenings and preventive care, such as cancer screenings, mammograms, and yearly physicals, were halted. If it wasn’t seen as urgent, it was canceled, and as a result, people aren’t in the habit of making their screening and preventive care appointments anymore. A number of people are still avoiding emergent medical care as a result of the pandemic, as well.

It's important to look at a few things when thinking about the long-term effects of COVID-19:

  • What diseases have been missed or allowed to worsen?
  • What is the status of prevention and disease management efforts?
  • Have the aforementioned efforts been affected by concerns such as job loss, loss of insurance, lack of access to healthy food, or loss of places to be physically active?
  • How has the neglect of routine checkups and screenings been experienced nationally?

Dr. Sean Peden, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at the Yale School of Medicine, says he isn’t seeing a larger number of patients than he did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he is seeing cases that are more severe. All screening and preventive care appointments (cancer screenings, mammograms, physicals, etc.) were canceled when the COVID-19 pandemic began, whether that was done by patients themselves or by the healthcare facilities at which they seek care. The canceling of these appointments has resulted in more serious diagnoses, as well as diagnoses of mood, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders, which are all results of the pandemic.

Some other things that doctors are seeing in their patients are weight gain, stress, above-average levels of drinking, and stress fractures and other overuse injuries. The weight gain, stress, and above-average levels of drinking contribute to more heart disease, and the weight gain also contributes to long-term or permanent mobility issues.

Also as a result of the pandemic, a result of mask-wearing, doctors are seeing more face rashes, acne, and dryness behind the ears. Patients are also developing hand rashes or eczema as a result of frequent hand washing and sanitizing.

At the end of the day, the cancellations of routine screenings and preventive care appointments will affect the chronically ill more than anyone else. The lack of healthcare being provided to the chronically ill during the COVID-19 pandemic has likely worsened patients’ existing conditions and caused additional chronic disease.

In addition to seeing more severe cases in their patients, healthcare providers are doing their best to keep themselves afloat. As a result of more severe cases, they’re suffering from emotional exhaustion. This may result in lower productivity levels, medical errors, lack of empathy, and high turnover rates. Healthcare providers’ ability to cope with these stressors is vital to the health of their families, patients, and most importantly, themselves.

Prior to the pandemic, healthcare providers already had a multitude of stressors: insurance and billing issues, patient dissatisfactions, and balancing busy work-life schedules. Now they must add the after-effects of the pandemic to the mix, and it’s a lot of pressure.

Overall, the consensus seems to be that there isn’t necessarily an uptick in patient numbers, but instead, an increase in the severity of patient health conditions. Stress from a global pandemic coupled with delaying treatment (also as a result of the pandemic) has led to an amount of health problems that have never been seen before. In addition, healthcare providers have an increased amount of stressors to deal with while also continuing to treat their patients.

If you’re interested in starting a conversation with us regarding the lasting effects of COVID-19, you can email us at

Crystal Carter

Crystal Carter, Content Marketing Specialist

You can stay connected with me on LinkedIn for all of the latest PracticeMatch articles and upcoming events.