Study Says Improved Treatment for COVID-19 is Reducing Mortality Rates

Research cited in a recent NPR Health News report demonstrates a significant decline in the number of deaths among hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The study, which was published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine, is based on in-patient mortality or discharged to hospice numbers collected from three academic health systems in New York from March through August 2020.

Based on the analysis, experts say mortality rates have dropped, suggesting treatment for the virus has improved. Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security’s Amesh Adalja explains standardized therapies and protocols now in place have made a considerable difference because they enable physicians across the country to manage complications. He adds that established guidance helps doctors to quickly recognize when a person is ill with COVID-19.

The researchers note patients currently being hospitalized tend to be much younger, have fewer comorbidities and are less frail than those who were hospitalized earlier in the pandemic. For this reason, Leora Horwitz, of the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Health, cautions that COVID-19 still has the potential to be very harmful and cause long-term consequences. She says the findings suggest improved treatment, even without a vaccine, is saving lives but emphasizes that masks and social distancing remain essential in keeping the mortality rate down because they reduce “the initial dose of virus a person receives,” which may mitigate the overall severity of the illness.

Bilal Mateen, of Alan Turing Institute, shares Horwitz’s position and adds that “data strongly suggest that keeping hospitals below their maximum capacity also helps to increase survival rates.” He explains when hospitals are maximum capacity and resources are strained, the probability of errors in healthcare delivery is more likely.

MLMIC encourages its policyholders to monitor guidance for the management and treatment of COVID-19 on our resources page and blog: