$654 Billion Cost of COVID Pandemic Disabled Healthcare Workers, Teachers & Chronic Long-Haulers
Updated: Jan 8
The COVID-19 Pandemic has ravaged the world. In America, ultimately almost 500,000 people are expected to die from COVID. While heartbreaking stories of COVID patients unable to gain the comfort of loved ones during their final moments leaves many deceased in the hands of a healthcare worker, nurse or doctor. Traumatized, many healthcare workers report feeling overwhelmed, unable to help patients. A feeling of helplessness, as though they experienced "wartime" like circumstances that left nearly 1 Million veteran soldiers of Afghanistan and Iraq wars disabled. And now research finds about 35% of the 5 Million healthcare workers in America experiencing severe distress, many diagnosed with PTSD, unable to function, as upwards of 1.2 Million healthcare workers are likely disabled for life.
Long-term cost estimates to care for expected disabled and traumatized healthcare workers could reach over $650 Billion in the years ahead reports Bright Nova Media.
Many traumatized healthcare workers experience chronic depression, PTSD, lack of sleep, fatigue, mental anxiety, social distancing, loss of interest and inability to focus on subjects. And studies find about 24% turn to alcohol or drugs which fest into addiction problems.
Further, medical researchers estimate about 1 Million people or 10% of the "recovered" COVID-19 patients become long haulers, that never return to their previous good health status, instead essentially chronically disabled, according to a recent article from The Journal of the American Medical Association and a study done by British scientists. That’s in line with the UC Davis Health studies also reflecting at least 10% are chronic long-haulers.
The "COVID long hauler" condition can effect anyone – old and young, otherwise healthy people and those battling other conditions with an estimated future disability cost of nearly $3.5 Billion reports Bright Nova Media. The chronic symptoms that linger are reported in those who were hospitalized with COVID-19 and even patients with mild COVID symptoms who seemingly never return to their previous good health status.
The list of long hauler symptoms is long, wide and inconsistent requiring more study. For some people, the lasting coronavirus symptoms are nothing like the original symptoms when they were first infected with COVID-19. The most common long hauler symptoms include :
Ongoing, sometimes debilitating, fatigue
Shortness of breath
Loss of taste and smell — even if this didn’t occur during the height of illness
Brain fog and confusion similar to dementia
For example, the "Brain Fog" is among the most confusing symptoms for long haulers. Patients report being unusually forgetful, confused or unable to concentrate even enough to watch TV or read a book. This phenomenon of "brain fog" and other symptoms occurs to a variety of patients, including those who weren't hospitalized and even after recovery testing negative for COVID about 10% remain chronically disabled with significant health problems.
How to Transform Healthcare and Crisis Management in America ...
Every American should be GRATEFUL for all the healthcare workers and others that risk their lives daily to care for our sick and vulnerable fellow citizens. They do not seek celebrity or big salary bonuses. The nurses, doctors, techs and healthcare workers in America and worldwide do it to help others. And its not just our healthcare workers that sacrifice, its our teachers, grocery store workers, police, garbage waste management laborers and factory workers, all in distress. For example, nearly 35% of school teachers will likely retirement early. While kids across America are falling behind in their educational development.
What Are the Solutions ... reports Bright Nova Media
Invest in rapid testing and Telemedicine including emphasis on in-home care
Increase medical school education on public health and infectious diseases
Accelerate evidence based care and FDA / CDC approval process for vaccine clinical trials, therapeutic treatments and advanced medical research
Aggressive monitoring of potential foreign disease threats to America
Create greater hospital capacity for pandemics and cost effective in-home care
Develop healthier housing for seniors, homeless people and incarcerated health
Government funds to ensure healthcare providers remain financially secure
Mental Health must widespread readily available to all particularly during crisis
Statewide testing and vaccine sites to ensure healthy local populations now
Create detailed US plan in event of crisis such as pandemic and other threats
Mandate all employers have a remote work plan and facilitate work from home two days per week in appropriate industries ie. job skills admin, accounting etc.
Mandate all schools have a remote learning plan and facilitate learn from home two days per week in appropriate grade levels ie. grades 1 - 12 level education
Others Things We Can Do to Support of American Essential Workers that keep are country running on a daily basis, include proposed bills like The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act to address physician, nurse, healthcare and essential worker mental health concerns :
The Coronavirus Health Care Worker Wellness Program : Establishes a grant program to ensure emergency physicians and other frontline health care providers have access to the mental health resources they need during crisis like COVID.
The Helping Emergency Responders Overcome (HERO) Program : Creates a data system at CDC to capture public safety officer suicide incidences and study successful interventions, authorize grants for peer support behavioral health and wellness programs within fire departments and EMS agencies, and develop best practices for addressing PTSD and other mental illness problems including addiction.
Improving Mental Health Access from the Emergency Department Program : Establish grants to support the provision of community follow-up services for individuals with an acute psychiatric emergency.
The Effective Suicide Screening and Assessment in the Emergency Department Program : Creates a grant to help the identification, assessment, and treatment of patients in the emergency department who are at-risk of suicide and addiction.
The Suicide Prevention Program : Institutes a grant to hospital emergency departments for solutions to prevent self-harm, addiction, and suicide attempts among patients after discharge.
To Learn More About Beneficial Programs Checkout ACEP which recently launched the Physician Wellness Hub, designed to make it easier for emergency department physicians and healthcare workers to find the right support during very trying times. The Wellness Hub offers options for seeking peer support and a variety of professional crisis counseling options. It houses a growing library of resources organized by source of stress (financial, legal, clinical, family, etc.) and mental health concerns (PTSD, suicide, burnout and more).
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