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COVID-19 Fears Stop Americans From Seeking Help for Heart Emergencies

MONDAY, Aug. 10, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Black and Hispanic Americans are much more likely than white people to avoid going to the hospital for heart attack or stroke symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic, an online survey reveals.

More than half (55%) of Hispanics, 45% of Black people and 40% of white people said they'd be scared to go to the hospital if they thought they were having a heart attack or stroke, because they might get infected with COVID-19.

Forty-one percent of Hispanics, 33% of Black people and 24% of white people said they would stay at home rather than risk exposure to COVID-19 at the hospital, according to the survey findings released by the American Heart Association (AHA).

To help ease fears about going to the hospital during the coronavirus pandemic, the AHA created a public education campaign in English and in Spanish called "Don't Die of Doubt."

It's designed to remind all Americans that, even during the pandemic, a hospital is the safest place to be if you develop symptoms of a heart attack or a stroke.

The survey findings are yet another challenge for minority Americans who are more likely to have underlying health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, and who are dying of COVID-19 at disproportionately high rates, said AHA volunteer medical expert Dr. Rafael Ortiz.

He's chief of neuro-endovascular surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

"Health care professionals know what to do even when things seem chaotic, and emergency departments have made plans behind the scenes to keep patients and health care workers safe, even during a pandemic," Ortiz said in an AHA news release.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and heart attack and stroke symptoms are always urgent. Don't hesitate to call 911, don't stay home, and don't die of doubt, the AHA urges.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more on heart attack and stroke.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, July 23, 2020

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