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Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(19)2022 Sep 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2043705


Since December 2019, COVID-19 has greatly influenced public healthcare systems around the globe in various aspects, including limitation of healthcare accessibility due to lack of both human and financial resources, suspension of clinics, and fear of infection causing healthcare avoidance. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on access to healthcare for otorhinolaryngology patients from different socioeconomic status (SES) groups. Otorhinolaryngology patients' disease severity status, diagnosed at the first hospital visit, was investigated during the pre -and post-COVID-19 pandemic era in a single medical center located in Seoul, Korea. An ordinal regression model was used to assess the impact of both SES and the COVID-19 pandemic on otorhinolaryngology diseases. Within the chronic rhinosinusitis group, lower SES was associated with a higher disease severity at the first visit compared to higher SES (OR = 3.25). During the COVID-19 pandemic, while the total number of outpatients was reduced, the severity of these ENT diseases seemed to increase compared to the pre-pandemic severity in every SES group. Our study demonstrates the negative impact a worldwide pandemic can have on healthcare inequity and disease severity, and highlights the importance of re-allocating fundamental resources for those in need during periods of public health crisis.

COVID-19 , Otolaryngology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Services Accessibility , Humans , Pandemics , Social Class