WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- A recent study conducted by British researchers suggests that the rate of death for COVID-19 patients in the ICU has dropped by about a third since the start of the pandemic.
- Experts attributed the understanding of strategies to mitigate the spread of the virus and therapies to treat patients as the reasons for the decline.
- The death rate for critically-ill COVID-19 patients in March was about 60%, down to nearly 40% at the end of May.
The number of COVID-19 patients dying in hospital intensive care units has decreased by about one-third since the beginning of the outbreak in the U.S. It’s a positive sign that health care workers now better understand the illness, according to a U.K. study.
Researchers studied data from thousands of adult coronavirus patients in ICUs around the world and discovered that the death rate dropped from 60 percent in March to 40 percent in May. The new study, which includes data from 10,150 patients, was published in the journal Anaesthesia.
“As we learn more about this virus and its effect on the critically ill, we become better at treating it and its complications,” Dr. Eric Cioe Pena, director of global health at Northwell Health, told ABC News.
Medical experts attributed the good news to the fact that they now better understand how the virus spreads, latches onto its host and causes infection, according to ABC.
“I think we are much better off now,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security. “We have a better understanding of the pathophysiology of disease, we have better tools to improve patient care and we are more knowledgeable about ventilator management in these patients.”
Adalja added that the use of steroids and anti-viral drugs helped improving treatment for some patients, advancements in testing have also helped doctors save more lives.
“We are diagnosing people earlier,” said Adalja — adding that ICU death rates may continue to decline as more treatments emerge.
He added that “People are getting lower doses of viral inoculants” and are experiencing “lower exposure” largely due to public health strategies implemented to limit the virus’ spread.
The study also found that there was no significant difference in ICU death rates in continents across the world.
“The global sum of knowledge brought to bear on this problem is what has helped to reduce mortality,” said Pena, who warned that treatment needs to be “coupled with good public health measures.”
In the US, the number of people infected with COVID-19 surpassed 3.5 million with around 141,000 deaths as of July 17.
Source: ABC News