The ongoing crisis and containment measures are likely to impact mental health. Many mental health patients now have difficulties accessing healthcare services. Also, continuous social isolation and COVID-19-related stress are likely to increase the number of mental health cases. The stress levels experienced among various members of society are likely to vary. For example, people who became unemployed or closed their businesses due to coronavirus are more likely to develop stress and anxiety. Therefore, governments should ensure that there is an integration of mental health in response measures.
The long term impact of COVID-19 on public health should be addressed by health and public authorities as quickly as possible and in a sustainable way. Non-communicable diseases will continue to increase and are estimated to cause 75 percent of the total deaths in 2030. Chronic conditions resulting from NCDs intensively use healthcare resources. For instance, 70 percent of the health resources in England was spent on 30 percent of the population with long-term health conditions. Also, mental health issues are estimated to become the number-one cause of mortality and morbidity across the world by 2030. The ongoing communicable diseases management, including vaccination, will still be a major area of focus.
COVID-19 has provided food for thought in many areas of public health that need to improve for us to respond to a similar health crisis in the future efficiently. COVID-19 has affected some countries more than others, and this has primarily been a matter of strategy. Some countries adopted better measures to combat the coronavirus early in its evolution. For example, countries that quickly started doing intensive testing and contact tracing, isolating infected patients, enforcing isolation, and implementation of mandatory use of face mask rules allowed some countries to achieve more rapid progress than others. One of the major challenges in addressing the crisis during the early stages was a large number of asymptomatic patients. Decentralized governance systems led to inequalities in response measures in various areas. Therefore, the healthcare sector needs to figure out how to improve this in the future.
The current crisis will undoubtedly reshape public health as we know it. Many measures need to be put in place to respond to a similar crisis in the future and safeguard public health. Following the implications of COVID-19 on public health, the question is, how will resource-limited healthcare systems reconfigure to tackle unpredictable large-scale crises such as COVID-19 better while still remaining sustainable?