CDC Foundation, Million Hearts And Partners Spotlight Cardiovascular Disease During COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic is shining a spotlight on many important topics that warrant our attention, from health disparities and systemic racism to the importance of frontline professions like health care and public health workers and teachers.

Another important topic is the issue of cardiovascular disease, which remains a top public health priority as heart disease and stroke continue to be the number one and number five leading causes of death in the United States.

CDC Foundation joined with the Million Hearts® Initiative to engage private and nonprofit partners in an effort to remind the general public to guard their heart health, especially during COVID-19.

Why the emphasis on cardiovascular disease during COVID-19?

• Because public health officials are now warning about the relationship between COVID-19 and cardiovascular disease, including concerns that serious heart conditions are associated with an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

• Also, COVID-19 is fueling reductions in emergency care and increased risk factors for heart attacks and strokes.

• In a recent MMWR article, CDC reported at least one in five expected emergency department visits for heart attack or stroke did not occur during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

• CDC explains patients may have delayed or avoided seeking medical care because of fear of COVID-19, unintended consequences of public health recommendations to minimize nonurgent health care, stay-at-home orders or other reasons.

The CDC Foundation and Million Hearts® led the effort to produce two public service announcements (PSAs) to increase public awareness on this topic. These short (30-second), animated PSAs encourage individuals to seek emergency care for heart attacks or strokes and promote the importance of heart health management, especially during COVID-19.

The PSAs were made possible through a partnership with CDC Foundation, Amgen, Bayer, America’s Essential Hospitals and the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), and they are being promoted by a host of Million Hearts partners who are joining in to share this important message.

Please view and share these messages to help keep more people heart healthy as we continue the fight against coronavirus: Emergency Care for Heart Disease During COVID-19 and Maintaining Heart Health During COVID-19.

Kinetra Joseph is the campaign director for Million Hearts.