Activity and the Incidence of Emergencies: Evidence From Daily Data at the Onset of a Pandemic

44 Pages Posted: 7 May 2020 Last revised: 29 May 2020

See all articles by Jorge Alé-Chilet

Jorge Alé-Chilet

Bar-Ilan University - Department of Economics

Juan Pablo Atal

University of Pennsylvania

Patricio Dominguez-Rivera

Inter-American Development Bank

Date Written: May 26, 2020

Abstract

Health care practitioners around the globe have observed that the COVID-19 crisis has been associated with an unprecedented decrease in non-COVID-19 visits to emergency departments. We corroborate this observation using administrative daily data from Chile and study the potential causes for this decrease. To that end, we merge regional emergency visits with Google mobility data and show that the crisis-induced changes in mobility patterns explain a significant portion of the overall drop in non-respiratory emergency room visits, especially for visits related to trauma and poisoning. Our results reveal that an important reason for the dramatic drop in non-COVID-19 utilization of emergency care is the lower incidence of emergencies. This result suggests that lockdown measures may have the unexpected benefit for public health of freeing up healthcare resources to confront the pandemic.

Keywords: Emergency, COVID-19, hospitals

Suggested Citation

Alé-Chilet, Jorge and Atal, Juan Pablo and Dominguez-Rivera, Patricio, Activity and the Incidence of Emergencies: Evidence From Daily Data at the Onset of a Pandemic (May 26, 2020). PIER Working Paper No. 20-016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3595246 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3595246

Jorge Alé-Chilet

Bar-Ilan University - Department of Economics ( email )

Ramat-Gan, 52900
Israel

Juan Pablo Atal (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Patricio Dominguez-Rivera

Inter-American Development Bank

1300 New York Ave NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States

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