Covid-19 continues to kill nearly 1,000 Americans a day. But for those who develop dangerous cases of infection, advances in medical care and the growing experience of doctors improve the chances of survival.
Since the first case arrived in the United States earlier this year, medical professionals have shifted from confusing in the dark to better understanding which drugs work, such as steroids and blood thinners and the antiviral drug remdezivir. The distribution of intensive medical resources has improved. And doctors have learned to refuse the use of ventilators for some patients, unlike many other severe respiratory illnesses.
Doctors and experts say improved medical tactics and earlier treatment are helping to improve outcomes for many sick patients, said Andrew Badley, head of the Mayo Clinic̵
“Health preparedness today is much better than in February and March,” Badley said in an interview. “We have better and faster access to diagnosis. We have more knowledge about what drugs to use and what drugs not to use. We have more experimental treatments available. They all contribute to possible improvements in mortality.”
One study looked at 4,689 Covid-19 hospitalizations from March to June in New York City, adjusting patient mortality for factors such as age, race, obesity, and any major diseases they may have had. In the first half of March, the mortality rate for hospitalized patients was 23%. By June, it had fallen to 8%. The study has not yet been reviewed, a process by which other experts study the work.
Despite the profits, the United States will soon carry 200,000 deaths, and tens of thousands of Americans have been confirmed infected every day. The number of people killed by the disease is still largely a factor in how many are infected in the first place – the more people get sick, the more they die. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasizes that the mask is still the best available protection against the virus for most people. And experts warn that the virus is still very dangerous and can kill even seemingly healthy individuals.
“Even with these improvements, it’s not a benign disease,” said Leora Horwitz, an associate professor of population health and medicine at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine who conducted the Covid-19 hospitalization study in New York. “This does not mean that the coronavirus is currently a non-dangerous disease. It remains a very serious threat to public health.”
The exact number
Public health officials, epidemiologists, amateur observers and others have observed the development of the pandemic, looking for ways to measure the virus’s mortality. Reporting deaths as a percentage of the larger population sheds light on the scope of the pandemic. Excess mortality compares deaths to what is expected to be mortality. But no method gives an idea of whether the virus becomes more or less deadly to a person with a severe case.
Even considering deaths by the number of confirmed cases can be misleading, as the result is largely a function of testing, experts say. If very mild or asymptomatic cases are caught, mortality will be lower. In Europe, for example, there are anecdotal signs of such a trend, although much of the lower mortality may be due to more cases found in younger and healthier people. More infections in young people are also found in the United States.
“You need to know who you’re testing and then what the real mortality rate is for that demographic,” said Aaron Glatt, chief of infectious diseases at Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital.
There is even a hypothesis that public health measures, such as wearing masks and distancing themselves, can help reduce the amount of viruses people become infected with, leading to milder cases because the body is not overwhelmed with a large dose of viruses. at once.
“Even though they become infected with the virus, they may receive a lower dose of the virus and therefore simply get less sick from it,” Horwitz said.
In New York, the first major American city to be severely affected by the virus, knowledge among doctors was limited as cases spilled into emergency rooms this spring. There are more than 27,000 confirmed and probable deaths from Covid-19 in the city, most of them at the peak of the outbreak there in March and April.
As the outbreak spread to other parts of the country, such as Texas, health workers had more time to prepare and learn what worked.
“Somehow we had a game book before we even started visiting patients in Texas,” said Robert Hancock, president of the Texas College of Emergency Medicine. “We understand the things that are working with Covid right now, much better.”
Since March, doctors have learned valuable lessons, not only on how to ensure that hospitals are not left without beds and intensive care inhalers, but also that turning a patient on their stomach, known as lying down, can help. Early administration of steroids to patients and treatment with blood thinners can also improve one’s prognosis.
“Now that we know we may need to start these patients with blood thinners and heparin pretty quickly, that helps,” said Diana L. Fitte, president of the Texas Medical Association. “Many of these Kovid deaths are due to blood coagulation; blood clots destroy their organs.”
Although there is still no cure for the coronavirus, all improvements in treatment and preventative measures combine to improve the prognosis for patients, Fite said. There are at least 14,590 deaths from the virus in Texas, according to the Texas Department of Health.
“Even if these things aren’t curative, they help a small percentage do better,” Fite said. “You add a few of these things and you get a better result overall.”
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV employees and was published by a syndicated show.)