A study in Annals of the American Thoracic Society recorded a steep decrease in the (ED) emergency department for asthma entries at Boston Children’s Hospital during the start of the global pandemic when the lockdown was followed strictly.
The study found that the total percent of the emergency visits due to asthma was lower in 2020 than in the year 2018 and 2019. Specifically, in the week of March 15 to March 21 the first lockdown happened and then it continued.
Boston Children’s Hospital’s emergency department (ED) observed a steep decline in asthma emergency department visits last spring.
Study author Dr. Tregony Simoneau, assistant professor of pediatrics at the Boston Children’s Hospital said, “Our most significant finding was the drastic and sudden drop in the emergency department visits shortly after schools closed and the stay-at-home order went into effect”. He also added that, “How this drop was sustained over several months is quite notable.”
Dr. David Fagan, vice chair of Pediatric Administration-Ambulatory General Pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y said, “Given the lockdown, with schools closing and families staying home, we have noticed a sudden steep decline in cases of (non-COVID) viral illness such as influenza. So with decreased transmission of viruses one might expect a decrease in exacerbations.”
Dr. Fagan added, “Allergens in the air are another potential trigger to asthma attacks. Because of wearing masks and social distancing, we had a very mild to nonexistent spring allergy season.”
Author Simoneau said that her team’s findings give “reassurance from a pediatric perspective that COVID is not necessarily resulting in an increase in asthma exacerbations. In fact, the social distancing measures in place seem to have resulted in a significant decrease in exacerbations.”