May 15, 2020 - Health

Former Medicaid official: Daily coronavirus risks are akin to "sustained trauma"

Screenshot: Axios event

Mental health, social services, immunizations and preventative medicine are all key stress points affected by the pandemic, Andy Slavitt, former Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Acting Administrator, said at a virtual Axios event on Friday.

What he's saying: The coronavirus risks "exposure to what they call sustained trauma—that is a day-in, day-out level of trauma — has a very significant level of PTSD-type impact," Slavitt said, that would "start with the medical community" as they witness deaths first-hand.

  • Health care workers, women who are juggling childcare and remote working, and children are all at higher risk for psychological distress caused by the pandemic, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

Why it matters: Experts are concerned the U.S. health care system isn't prepared for the potential mental health crisis that the pandemic has wrought, Axios' Miriam Kramer reports.

Threat level: 28% of Americans report worsening mental health and 34% report worsening emotional well-being at the end of April, according to the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Between the lines: Low-income Americans in public housing and those in the criminal justice system are among those at the highest risk from the coronavirus, Slavitt said.

Watch the event.

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