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Title: COVID-19 is ageist, sexist, ruthless, dispassionate and opportunistic – protecting our vulnerable
Authors: Cuschieri, Sarah
Grech, Victor E.
Keywords: COVID-19 (Disease) -- Prevention
Chronic diseases -- Risk factors
Chronic diseases -- Treatment
Chronic diseases -- Prevention
COVID-19 (Disease) -- Transmission -- Malta -- Prevention
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Cuschieri, S., & Grech, V. (2020). COVID-19 is ageist, sexist, ruthless, dispassionate and opportunistic – protecting our vulnerable. Early Human Development, 105214.
Abstract: Introduction: COVID-19 pandemic and it is ageist, sexist and a ruthless, dispassionate and opportunistic organism, avid for non-communicable disease (NCDs) and multimorbidity. Almost all medical attention and focus is on this infection. Nonetheless, prior to this pandemic NCDs and the increasing prevalence of multimorbidity dominated the global landscape. The aim of this paper is to explore the effect of COVID-19 on NCDs and multimorbidity populations while proposing recommendations to protect this vulnerable population. Methods: A literature search using PubMed and Google scholar was performed using the keywords “COVID-19”, “Vulnerable population”, “Non-communicable diseases” and “Multimorbidity”. Articles found relevant to the scope of the article were considered. Results: Instituted restrictive measures to curb the viral spread led to constraints on wellbeing of the NCDs and multimorbidity population. There was also disruption to access to essential services and screening programmes, and the reduction or cancellation of planned appointments. These individuals have been reported to have a higher risk of a COVID-19 infection and premature mortality. It was also observed that the relaxation of COVID measures led to the spill off of infections among this vulnerable population with a spike in mortality. Conclusions: Changes in COVID-19 policies so as to resuscitate economies are crucial. However, it is paramount that measures to ensure adequate care and protection of the NCDs population are instituted, especially on the eve of the seasonal influenza season. Strategies are recommended to plan for surveillance, risk assessments, follow-ups and prevention of the twofold burden of non-communicable and communicable diseases.
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