The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Parkinson’s Disease: Hidden Sorrows and Emerging Opportunities


In the past few months, the world seems to have come to a virtual standstill. As the SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to spread across the globe, many countries have taken drastic measures to slow down infection rates. These include social distancing, and in some countries a complete lock-down of social and economic life. The impact of the corona virus disease (COVID-19) crisis is evident, on the lives of the worst affected families, our healthcare systems, and the world economy. There are particular concerns around the increased vulnerability of patients living with a chronic disease, and this also includes neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease (PD). Indeed, PD is more common in the elderly, and PD can compromise the respiratory system, as reflected among others by the increased risk of pneumonia that is present in patients with advanced PD. Although documented reports are thus far lacking, it is conceivable that having a diagnosis of PD is a risk factor for worse respiratory complications or even an unfavorable outcome after a COVID-19 infection. This “immediate” impact of a COVID-19 infection for people living with PD has been addressed extensively, among others in webinars and informative websites issued by patient organizations around the globe (for examples, see [1]). However, the potential impact of COVID-19 infections for PD patients extends well beyond these direct threats. Here, we will focus on several less visible—but also potentially grave—consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for people living with PD, and more specifically, on how the preventive social measures to mitigate the risk of becoming infected have drastically changed the way of life for many affected persons. We also address how this crisis is already beginning to lead to new initiatives that offer help and support for patients and their near ones.

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Neurology and Neurorehabilitation
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