COVID-19 Index
By Richard Bruce BA, MA, and PhC in Economics

COVID-19 Becoming Less Deadly
Because of New Treatments.
Another Reason to Slow the Spread

There have been many improvements in our treatment of COVID-19. A cheap steroid, corticosteroid, has been found to reduce death among patients on ventilators by about a third and patients that are receiving supplemental oxygen through other methods by about a fifth.

This is a major step forward but hardly the only one. Doctors have found that is easier for severely ill patients to breath if they lie on their stomachs rather than lying on their backs. A cheap but effective improvement. The blood plasma of recovered COVID-19 patients which is filled with antibodies is used on patients that are currently sick. We couldn't do this if we did not have lots of recovered patiens and we would not have the recovered patients without slowing the spread. The antiviral drug remdesivir has helped patients recover more quickly. Severely ill COVID-19 patients suffer blood clots which maybe a major cause of death. Anticoagulants prevent blood clots and help prevent those deaths.

With all these new techniques we might be cutting the death rate in half or perhaps we soon will be. In some sense half of the COVID-19 problem may have been solved. So all of the sacrifices we have made in shutting down, wearing masks, and practicing social distancing have not been for nothing. We made sacrifices to avoid overwhelming the medical system by flattening the curve. But in addition to the lives saved by not overwhelming the medical system we have also saved lives by giving the scientists and doctors time to come up with new treatments.

There is an interesting article in Science, one of the two most distinguished Scientific journals in the world, the other is Nature, on COVID and this steroid. Check it out.

There are well over a hundred candidate vaccines in various stages of testing. We hope one will put an end to COVID-19. But even if they do not work we are still reducing the harm by slowing the spread.

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