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The 75+ Things Making #HighRiskCovid19 Patients Anxious Right Now, According to Our Survey

Members of the Global Healthy Living Foundation and CreakyJoints patient communities have a lot on their mind right now, including many life-or-death fears over their COVID-19 risk and overall health.

Learn more about our FREE COVID-19 Patient Support Program for chronic illness patients and their loved ones.

More than half (51 percent) of respondents to a recent survey we conducted of Global Healthy Living Foundation (GHLF)and CreakyJoints patient communities reported feeling anxious or very anxious right now — and the reasons are more varied and surprising than you might think. More than 350 patients and caregivers took the online survey between March 19 and 23, 2020.

We thought it was important to share some of the common concerns that hundreds of survey participants wrote in about. All of the responses have been de-identified to protect peoples’ privacy.

If you are experiencing anxiety, we encourage you to join our GHLF COVID-19 Patient Support Program. This free program is for chronic illness patients and their families to access updated information, community support, and other resources tailored specifically to your health and safety.

We also encourage you to read these related resources:

Getting COVID-19 and Being High-Risk

“Getting the virus and having a hard time recovering from it.”

“Catching coronavirus due to my immunosuppressed health status, financial worries, my family being sick with coronavirus.”

“I’m concerned myself or a loved one will get the virus and will not be able to survive it.”

“Catching it and becoming a burden on our NHS [National Health Service, the publicly funded healthcare system of the United Kingdom].”

“Worried about getting it and not surviving.”

“How can I avoid [coronavirus], as I have various meds that are immunosuppressive? I fall into the vulnerable group.”

“Getting the virus and surviving the virus. Feeling the pain of RA with the pain of the virus.  Scare of reducing or getting off my medication.”

“I take [a biologic] and have had severe past lung issues. If I get the virus or pneumonia, I have very little hope.”

“On immunosuppressants. Anxious about falling ill when hospitals are overwhelmed and not receiving adequate treatment.”

“Getting sick and having a longer-than-usual recovery time because I have rheumatoid arthritis. And will I be able to keep my job when this is over? My insurance is through my employer.”

“Worried about catching it and ending up on a ventilator as I am in a high-risk group.”

“I have weak lungs so I’m scared to get it.”

“Catching this from my grandchildren.”

“Becoming ill from COVID-19 and being taken to hospital. Not being able to breathe.”

“As someone with asthma — who wakes up most mornings with a heavy phlegmy chest and gets chest infectious every winter — I can’t imagine having a respiratory condition like COVID- 19 has been described. I am also anxious about the changes to society in terms of things shutting down, people hoarding essential supplies and meds, and the economic situation with all the job losses as businesses close or temporarily shut down.”

“Am currently unwell — not because of COVID-19 — and on immunosuppressants so I don’t feel I’d stand a chance if I caught the virus. Also, I am caring for elderly parent with COPD.”

“Dying and leaving my children behind.”

Getting Subpar Treatment

“Getting the virus and not being treated because of my age.”

“Having no choice about where to have medical care in the event I do get COVID virus. The nearest facilities are horrible on a good day.”

“Fear that if I get sick and need hospitalization that I won’t get a respirator because I have chronic illness, my BMI is over 25, or because there aren’t any left.”

“My immune system’s ability to manage infection should I be infected. Worst-case scenario fear: that I will develop complications and require medical help I won’t be able to get because hospitals are overloaded. My greatest fear is not my body’s vulnerability, rather, it is that the U.S. health care system will fail me.”

Not Being Able to Prepare

“I recently broke my foot and it makes everything much harder with regard to making sure we are as prepared as possible.”

Exposure at Work

“I am a health care professional and am worried about exposure at work.”

“I work in health care and must continue to work even though I don’t feel safe with potential coronavirus exposure.”

“I am a nurse and working in a hospital. I do not have access to N95 masks and I am being exposed to COVID-19.”

“I’m a nurse working on a hospital and we receive one N95 mask we are to reuse indefinitely so I feel I’m at a high risk since I take [immunosuppressing medications].”

“My wife works in a factory. I worry about her becoming infected and passing it on to me.”

Feeling Isolated and Apart from Loved Ones

“Not being able to see my kids and grandkids.”

“Not seeing my grown children. We live over an hour away and my son is in retail. Getting the virus and having bad symptoms.”

“How long will we be social distancing? I need hugs…”

“Being alone; getting sick; how long this will last; what life will be like after.”

Others Getting Sick and Not Being Able to Help Them

“I am somewhat worried about getting sick, but I am more worried about being unable to help loved ones when they get sick.”

“My children and grandkids getting sick.”

“Getting sick. Or my mother getting sick. Or my daughter getting sick. We’re all immunocompromised … It will still be difficult to care for whomever eventually gets this virus. I’m not sure we’re all going to make it through unscathed.”

“Scared my 85-year-old parent will get this. Getting the disease with a low immune system and having to fight it off or giving it to someone else. Also running out of supplies and food.”

“That both my spouse and I will get seriously ill and no one will be able to take care of our kids. Also, death.”

Putting Others’ Needs First

“My child’s missed schooling and my own ongoing health needs taking a backseat.”

Lack of Medication and Supplies

“I worry now that president Trump is touting hydroxychloroquine as a cure for COVID-19 that I as an RA patient will be forced to be shorted on my supply.”

“People dying, hospitals running out of supplies.”

“Not being able to buy/source cleaning supplies or soap or hand sanitizer. Being more at risk due to autoimmune conditions. My husband having to go out to work. Being unable to shop online due to high demand.”

“Anxious about not being able to do simple things like grocery shop or finding certain items or how long we can last under this stressful way of life.”

“My infusion next week has been cancelled because Actemra is not available [as it is] being used for treatment in virus.”

“Worried I will get it and die. Or there won’t be enough ventilators.”

“Our local hospitals have said they’ve run out of intensive care beds and ventilators. I am high risk and they are talking about having to choose who gets the bed. I have children and I cannot go to the food shops, but they are empty anyway. I have made an online delivery order but keep being notified my items are out of stock. I cannot book another a lot as none are available for the next 30 days. I’m scared.”

“Being on a fixed income and running out of supplies, then not being able to buy some or afford them because of hoarding.”

“Not sure if my medications and other essential items will continue to be available.  Also, no face-to-face appointments with my rheumatologist. Only phone calls.”

“I am scared to go outside and get my prescription refilled. I don’t know if I can trust abled people to take appropriate precautions and not get me sick.”

Lack of Testing

“Not being able to access COVID-19 testing; and the economic implications of the stay at home orders.”

“Concerned for the lack of tests so I feel we don’t have an accurate picture of the spread of the disease. Concerned that it will affect our livelihoods.”

Not Understanding My Risk

“Uncertainty about my body’s immunity and whether I’m more susceptible to the virus or not. Uncertain whether my condition counts as being in the ‘high risk category.’”

Losing Control of My Health

“This past year I have finally been able to gain a sense of health. I am less anxious about the virus than I am about having to put my life on hold, having to separate myself.”

“Taking a biologic at this time and whether it’s better to stop it and live with a flare or continue with it.”

“My husband and I are both immune-compromised and worry about getting our 30-day supply of medications for chronic pain.”

“I need to get in to possibly get an injection for macular degeneration. I don’t want to risk being in the waiting room so am putting it off.”

People Not Following Public Health Advice

“Helping my teenage children understand and cooperate with self-isolation and social distancing.”

“The uncertainty of it all, the fear of myself or a loved one contracting the virus. Some people not listening or taking advice from countries going through the same thing, like China and Italy.”

“I’m anxious because I live in Broward County, Florida, where our governor allowed Spring Breakers to party and most likely spread the disease even more throughout my town. I’m anxious because my husband may lose both of his jobs and I can’t work. I’m anxious because my friends may die because selfish people aren’t taking social distancing seriously.”

“People not understanding the gravity of this situation.”

“I’m anxious because it seems like too many people aren’t taking COVID-19 seriously in my state. I really want everyone to do the right thing.”

“Other people — like my family — being inconsiderate and unconcerned about the dangers facing me.”

“I suspect it’s a matter of time before I get the virus. I live in an apartment so I have to go through shared spaces to walk my dog or go to my car. Neighbors are not taking this seriously. I’m supposed to move into a house soon which would be safer, but travel restrictions will prevent the move.”

“There are still many people who are not covering their mouth when they cough or sneeze and have no concept of personal space.”

“That people don’t stay home, medical services get overwhelmed, and people die needlessly.”

“I’m most anxious about those who are NOT taking this seriously.”

“That people aren’t taking precautions because people at high risk don’t matter.”

“People not taking this seriously.  And those who feel folks who are over age 60 are expendable.”

“Concerned about dying if I get COVID-19. Insufficient disinfecting supplies because of hoarding. Risk of using mass transit to see my doctor. Not leaving home except for necessary medical care. Upset that fools are still partying and crowding together.”

Dealing with Difficult People

“Acquiring the disease. Dealing with ‘difficult’ people if I need to go out in community briefly (market).”

Financial and Societal Issues

“Primarily the stock market and the actions of humans in a minor breakdown of society. I try not to worry about contracting COVID-19 because it’s relatively out of my control despite mitigating action on my part.”

“I am most anxious about the larger societal impact.  I am most anxious personally for the loss of income.”

“No income. I am a self-employed part-time personal assistant and need to self-isolate, not run around doing errands for someone else right now. Also anxious about catching COVID19 and others catching it and it not being controlled.”

“That the pandemic will get worse and those critical to our existence like grocery, pharmacies, restaurants, truckers, health care workers will be so affected that we get into a very dire situation.”

“Getting very sick and leaving my family to fend without my support and income.”

Government Response

“Lack of leadership in federal government. Hate mongering. Lack of necessary supplies.”

“I’m anxious that the general public isn’t taking it seriously enough. So many people aren’t social distancing, aren’t practicing basic hygiene, like hand washing and covering coughs, and have an attitude of ‘well, I’m young and healthy, so I don’t need to do anything,’ which is incredibly dangerous. I also don’t trust the Australian government to protect those most vulnerable as they’re far more concerned with economic outcomes.”

“At first I was anxious about getting the infection and not being able to fight it off because of the immunosuppressant I’m on, but now after not having set foot outside the house in three weeks, I’m anxious about the lack of governance [in my] state.”

“I am most worried that our federal government isn’t taking this seriously enough. They seem to view it as a stock market problem rather than a health problem. I see little concern or compassion for the public. I worry that if I get sick they will view me as not worth saving.”

News Coverage

“The news can be so scary. And finding food is so difficult. My husband doesn’t want me leaving the house and is trying to stay home himself so he doesn’t bring it here.”

Uncertainty

“The unknown of it all.”

“I live alone and there is so much uncertainty regarding coronavirus outbreak.”

“So many unknowns! Health concerns, frustration with social distancing, economy, etc.”

“Fearful of the unknown basically.  The What-Ifs. Also, I have questions that my rheumatologist could answer, but the office/hospital has not provided a number or site for such.”

“Just: When this will end?”

Get Free Coronavirus Support for Chronic Illness Patients

Join the Global Healthy Living Foundation’s free COVID-19 Support Program for chronic illness patients and their families. We will be providing updated information, community support, and other resources tailored specifically to your health and safety. Join now.