COVID-19 with Parkinson's: What to Expect
The Michael J. Fox Foundation has been closely tracking medical data from the massive COVID-19 outbreak happening in the United States (which has affected nearly 4 million people in that country as of July 20, 2020).
The organisation has now released the first data set that reveals, for the very first time, how COVID-19 is affecting people that have Parkinson's.
Success in the Survey Sample
The study talked to 7,200 people who are related to Parkinson’s – either people with the condition or their carers.
Out of the 7,200 who completed the survey, 51 with Parkinson’s also had contracted COVID-19 during the outbreak.
The survey reports that over half the affected people experienced worsening motor and non-motor symptoms.
55% of affected people experienced increased tremors, slowness and imbalance while a similar percentage instead reported mood swings, digestive problems, fatigue and pain.
Dan Morris, a person with PD who had COVID-19, was reported as saying, "My tremor got worse with COVID, and there was nothing to show if other people with PD were also experiencing this."
Contrast for New Zealand
The survey also painted a stark contrast of the support available to people with Parkinson's in the United States, compared to New Zealand.
62% of survey respondents in the U.S. report having to cancel their medical appointments, over the phone or video, as they could not afford it.
In contrast, during the lockdown, our nurses here in New Zealand were religiously reaching out to support clients, over Zoom, phone or email, at no charge.
Altogether, our Parkinson's Nurses made 2,659 calls to check in on our clients over videoconferencing platforms or the telephone. Our nurses also sent out 1,458 emails to our clients during the lockdown period.
Source: Michael J. Fox Foundation release dated July 14, 2020 "First and Largest Data Set of Self-Reported Outcomes on COVID-19 and Parkinson's Disease"