The COVID-19 pandemic has far-reaching consequences with an impact on unexpected types of injuries, the volume of injuries, and the volume of traumas.
COVID-19 Injury Trends
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the country has felt its impact on many fronts. Hospitals and medical facilities have witnessed a surge of COVID-19 injuries and deaths, as well as a variety of other types of injuries linked to the pandemic. With the issue of stay-at-home orders by most states, there have been significant changes in the number of motor vehicle accidents, pediatric injuries, and incidents of domestic violence.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
With stay-at-home orders, as well as business and school closures, motor vehicle accidents have declined by 33% since the COVID 19 pandemic began. Since people are out of work and spending more time at home, there is less traffic on the roads. However, a reduced amount of cars has led to more unsafe driving behaviors like speeding, ignoring traffic signals, and impaired driving.
Hospitals have witnessed a rise in recreational vehicle accidents and injuries. Hospital emergency rooms are reporting a spike in boating and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accidents around the country.
Since most schools around the country are closed, children are participating in school work through videos and internet sites like Skype and Zoom. When not participating in online school studies, children are spending most of their time at home with parents and siblings. While older children may handle the situation more proactively, young children often become frustrated and anxious due to isolation and disruption in normal routines.
Hospital emergency rooms have seen a rise in pediatric accidents and injuries for small children who require more parental supervision. Pediatric injuries include eye and facial lacerations, fractures and broken bones, and head trauma, often resulting from lack of adult supervision and risky behaviors like playing on stairs, climbing trees, and biking in the street.
Hospital injury reports show a rise in incidents of domestic violence during pandemic stay-at-home orders. Emergency room x-rays confirm numerous injuries consistent with signs of physical abuse.
Intimate partner violence includes physical, verbal, and sexual abuse against a spouse or partner. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) refers to domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic as the “shadow pandemic” that is lurking in the background as healthcare systems are drained and shelters are at full capacity.