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The outbreak of coronavirus and the infectious disease it causes (COVID-19) have taken different paths around the world, with countries experiencing different rates of infection, case prevalence and mortality.

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Editorial 30 March 2021

Too long to wait: the impact of COVID-19 on elective surgery.

The Lancet Rheumatology

As health-care systems worldwide scrambled to cope with the first wave of COVID-19, many countries made the necessary decision to cancel all non-emergency surgical procedures to free up personnel and resources to care for patients with COVID-19. Nearly 10 million people in the UK are now waiting for surgical procedures, up from 4 million before the pandemic hit. Among them are nearly 100 000 patients whose joint replacement surgeries were cancelled during the first COVID-19 wave, many of whom are left struggling with daily activities because of severe pain and limited mobility. The UK is not alone in this dilemma; a US report projected a backlog of more than 1 million joint and spinal surgeries by mid-2022. Drastic measures will be required to clear these backlogs.Although elective surgeries resumed in the UK (and many other countries) in mid-2020, most hospitals are functioning...