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The COVID-19 pandemic continues to negatively impact population health by indirect effects on patient and healthcare systems, in addition to the direct effects of COVID-19 itself. Accurate and quantitative information about the indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on cardiovascular disease (CVD) services and outcomes will allow better public health planning. Ball and colleagues1 aim to ‘design and implement a simple tool for monitoring and visualising trends in CVD hospital services in the UK’ and towards that end they present pilot data from a preliminary cohort of nine UK hospitals in this issue of Heart. Comparing 6 months in 2019–2020 (that include the COVID-19 lockdown in the UK) to the same time period in 2018–2019, there was a 57.9% decrease in total hospital admissions and a 52.9% decrease in emergency department visits (figure 1). In addition, there was a 31%–88% decline during lockdown in procedures for treatment of cardiac, cerebrovascular and other vascular conditions.
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