COVID-19 Precautions Decreases the Rate of Hospital Admissions for Respiratory Diseases

Researchers in Korea revealed that the hospitalization rate for major respiratory diseases have decreased since implementing precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 such as mask wearing, social distancing, practicing cough etiquette, and hand hygiene.

 

The research team performed an analysis using data collected by the National Health Insurance. They analyzed and compared the rates of hospital admissions before the start of COVID-19 (from February to July in 2016 to 2019) to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Korea (from February to July in 2020) for four major respiratory diseases: pneumonia, influenza, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and asthma.

According to the research team, compared prior to the pandemic, hospitalization for respiratory diseases were significantly reduced during the period when precautionary and quarantine measures for COVID-19 were implemented.

Comparing to the corresponding season in the four years preceding COVID-19 pandemic, hospitalization for pneumonia decreased 53% per million people, 80% for influenza, 42% for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and 52% for asthma.

 

As the spread of COVID-19 started in Korea, precautionary measures such as social distancing, mask wearing, self-quarantine and hand hygiene were strictly followed. It is noteworthy that not only did the rates of hospital admissions for COVID-19 decrease but the hospitalization rate of major respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, influenza, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and asthma have significantly decreased as well.

 

The results of this study were published in the world’s leading respiratory medicine journal, Thorax.