Sharpe to the Point: COV-lateral Damage

Jim SharpeJune 24, 2020
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Even though we won’t know the total number of COVID-19 deaths for months, some doctors and statisticians are already saying we will need to double that number.

They’re not arguing that we double the number of people dying from the disease, but say we should add those who die because of fear of coronavirus or because of the unintended consequences of the medical community and government’s reaction to it.

Dr. Michael Waters, director of the Neurovascular Division and Stroke Program at Barrow Neurological Institute, talked with me recently about COVID-induced strokes that have been occurring – even in younger people. He’s concerned that those experiencing a stroke won’t go to the hospital – because they’re worried they’ll catch the coronavirus, which they might already have.

Dr. Michael White, Valleywise Health’s chief medical officer, told KTAR News that they’ve noticed a 40 percent drop in people presenting at the hospital with heart attack symptoms. And you know, with all the crappy eating we’ve been doing, that there aren’t 40 percent fewer heart attacks happening.

Wow. COVID-19 is causing people to literally scare themselves to death.

Yet, I suspect there are other ancillary coronavirus deaths caused by lack of medical care: those who are willing to seek help for a condition, but can’t get that help.

After having a screening mammogram in early March, my wife was advised to get a more thorough mammogram as well as an ultrasound because the diagnostic center spotted something they felt required a more complete exam.

Good luck! Getting back in for that follow-up became a comedy of cancellations. I use that term because I love alliteration – not because there was any humor found in the mounting nervousness my wife and I experienced after three appointments were canceled.

Thanks to a Valley breast surgeon I met – ironically, by interviewing her while she was stuck onboard a cruise ship hit with COVID-19 – my wife finally got in at a different diagnostic center and, thank God, got a clean bill of health.

Those who’ve died because they had to wait months for a diagnosis or surgery or were too scared to go see a doctor are far from the only people who need to be added to the tale of the true devastation of SARS-CoV-2.

Many conservatives have argued that when we face our next pandemic, we need to take a hard look at what this one did to our economy – it’s why they say “the cure was worse than the disease.”

But we also need to consider doing things differently next time because of the people who don’t get treated for a disease because it’s not the disease. The one and only disease we’ve been focused on.


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