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.
- NIHR Identifies Four Syndromes Commonly Experienced by Patients With “Long COVID,” a blog post on four common syndromes impacting patients with ‘long COVID,’
- FDA Approves Veklury for Treatment of COVID-19 Patients Who Meet Certain Criteria, a blog post on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the antiviral Veklury to treat COVID-19 patients who meet specific criteria;
- Experts Say a COVID-19 Infection May Result in Lasting Health Consequences, a blog post on the long-term health consequences impacting a growing number of patients infected with COVID-19; and
- New Prediction Model Can Help Forecast Severity of COVID-19, a blog post on a new prediction model capable of helping healthcare systems care for COVID-19 patients and make important decisions about planning and resource allocations.