Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on hospitals

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The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted hospitals around the world. Many hospitals have scaled back or postponed non-emergency care. This has medical consequences for the people served by the hospitals, and it has financial consequences for the hospitals. Health and social systems across the globe are struggling to cope. The situation is especially challenging in humanitarian, fragile and low-income country contexts, where health and social systems are already weak. Health facilities in many places are closing or limiting services.[1] Services to provide sexual and reproductive health care risk being sidelined, which will lead to higher maternal mortality and morbidity.[2][3]

General implications[edit]

Researchers could show that due to cancelled or postponed surgical procedures, 28.4 million procedures had been postponed during the peak 12 weeks of the pandemic. 2.3 million cancer surgeries were expected to be postponed. Estimates could show that 72.3% of all surgical procedures would be cancelled and that benign disease and orthopaedics would be the most affected procedures.[4] On the other hand, a study published by the same group could show that postoperative pulmonary complications and mortality were significantly elevated in operated patients with SARS-CoV-2-infection,[5] although the increased risk diminishes 7 weeks after SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis.[6] To minimize the risk for SARS-CoV-2-related complications after hospital procedures, later in the pandemic COVID-19-free clinical pathways[7] and prioritisation of elective surgery patients for vaccination[8] were proposed as strategies to safely restart surgery.

In a global student survey (Aristovnik et al., 2020), the respondents were by far the most satisfied with the role of hospitals with two-thirds of all respondents being satisfied (or very satisfied) with their response, especially in Sri Lanka with even 94.6% in the times of the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is obvious that since globally healthcare providers were working harder than ever to keep citizens safe this may act as a starting point for providers to rebuild the nation’s (including students’) satisfaction and trust in healthcare.[9]


COVID-19 patient in a hospital in Chernivtsi, Ukraine

China has rapidly constructed new hospitals to accommodate a large number of beds.[10]

According to doctors in Tokyo, Japan, the state of emergency is not enough for stopping the spread of the coronavirus.[11]

North America[edit]

In the United States, hospitals financially rely on "surgeries, scans and other well-reimbursed services to privately insured patients". Non-emergency care was discontinued during the pandemic, causing severe financial problems. For example, the Mayo Clinic's revenue had a net gain of $1 billion in 2019, but had to cancel surgeries in 2020 and therefore expects to lose nearly $1 billion during 2020.[12]

The federal government passed the CARES Act, which is giving $30 billion to hospitals nationwide.[13] 261 hospital systems laid off or furloughed over 100,000 employees by May 21.[14]


Doctors and nurses working in public hospitals went on strike over lack of PPE's, to use while treating patients.[15][16][17]

"Some countries like Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, and Ivory Coast have insurance for their health workers and have promised to provide them with allowances."[18]

On female staff[edit]

Globally, women make up 70 percent of workers in the health and social sector. Women are playing a disproportionate role in responding to the disease, including as front line healthcare workers (as well as carers at home and community leaders and mobilisers). In some countries, COVID-19 infections among female health workers are twice that of their male counterparts.[19][20][21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Family Planning and Ending Gender-based Violence, Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriage". Retrieved 2020-06-24.
  2. ^ Continuing essential Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Health services during COVID-19 pandemic (PDF). World Health Organization, UNFPA, UNICEF. 2020.
  3. ^ Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic UNFPA Global Response Plan (PDF). UNFPA. 2020.
  4. ^ COVIDSurg, Collaborative; Nepogodiev, Dmitri; Bhangu, Aneel (12 May 2020). "Elective surgery cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic: global predictive modelling to inform surgical recovery plans". British Journal of Surgery. 107 (11): 1440–1449. doi:10.1002/bjs.11746. ISSN 1365-2168. PMC 7272903. PMID 32395848.
  5. ^ CovidSurg, Collaborative (May 2020). "Mortality and pulmonary complications in patients undergoing surgery with perioperative SARS-CoV-2 infection: an international cohort study". The Lancet. 396 (10243): 27–38. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31182-X. PMC 7259900. PMID 32479829.
  6. ^ COVIDSurg Collaborative (9 March 2021). "Timing of surgery following SARS‐CoV‐2 infection: an international prospective cohort study". Anaesthesia: anae.15458. doi:10.1111/anae.15458. PMID 33690889.
  7. ^ CovidSurg, Collaborative (6 October 2020). "Elective Cancer Surgery in COVID-19–Free Surgical Pathways During the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic: An International, Multicenter, Comparative Cohort Study". Journal of Clinical Oncology. 39 (1): 66–78. doi:10.1200/jco.20.01933. PMID 33021869.
  8. ^ COVIDSurg Collaborative, GlobalSurg Collaborative, . (24 March 2021). "SARS-CoV-2 vaccination modelling for safe surgery to save lives: data from an international prospective cohort study". The British Journal of Surgery. doi:10.1093/bjs/znab101. PMID 33761533.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Aristovnik A, Keržič D, Ravšelj D, Tomaževič N, Umek L (October 2020). "Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Life of Higher Education Students: A Global Perspective". Sustainability. 12 (20): 8438. doi:10.3390/su12208438.
  10. ^ Butler, Kiera. "China constructed new hospitals in days, and other lessons from their response to the coronavirus". Mother Jones.
  11. ^ "Japan 'is overwhelmed with sick patients'". BBC News.
  12. ^ Kliff, Sarah (2020-05-15). "Hospitals Knew How to Make Money. Then Coronavirus Happened". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-05-15.
  13. ^ "U.S. Hospitals Hit By Financial 'Triple Whammy' During Coronavirus Pandemic".
  14. ^ "261 hospitals furloughing workers in response to COVID-19".
  15. ^ "Anadolu Ajansı". Anadolu Ajansı. Retrieved 2020-05-26.
  16. ^ "Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera". Retrieved 2020-05-26.
  17. ^ Welle (, Deutsche. "News and current affairs from Germany and around the world | DW". DW.COM. Retrieved 2020-05-26.
  18. ^ Welle (, Deutsche. "News and current affairs from Germany and around the world | DW". DW.COM. Retrieved 2020-05-26.
  19. ^ "UN Secretary-General's policy brief: The impact of COVID-19 on women | Digital library: Publications". UN Women. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  20. ^ "Gender equality matters in COVID-19 response". UN Women. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  21. ^ "COVID-19: Emerging gender data and why it matters | UN Women Data Hub". Retrieved 2020-06-12.