Though emergency rooms across the country are seeing about half as many heart attack patients as usual, that doesn't mean fewer people are having heart attacks — instead, it's people not seeking help at hospitals amid fear of getting COVID-19.
WEDNESDAY, May 20, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. emergency rooms are seeing about half as many heart attack patients as usual -- and researchers suspect the new coronavirus is the reason why.
It's not that fewer people are having heart attacks, doctors say. Rather, it's fear of getting COVID-19 keeping people from hospitals.
And the consequences can be deadly.
"I'm certainly not convinced that the true rate of heart attacks going down explains even a large part of this finding," said lead researcher Dr. Matthew Solomon, a cardiologist at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif.
"We definitely think it has something to do with the public's response and fear about coming to the hospital and getting infected," he said.
Solomon noted that after other major events, such as 9/11 and earthquakes, the rate of heart attacks went up.