Lessons learned in early days on COVID-19 front lines are now saving lives

More than six months into the coronavirus pandemic in the US, a cure is still elusive but radical changes in screening and treatment have saved thousands of lives.

At the height of the pandemic in April, the mortality rate in the US was just under 24 percent, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control. As of last week, the CDC reported the mortality rate — the percentage of those infected who die — was hovering at just above 6 percent.

Worldwide, 911,000 people have succumbed to the dreaded bug, including 193,000 in the US. In New York state, the virus has killed 33,000 people, and sickened 446,000 more.

At the height of the pandemic, the Empire State was the COVID epicenter of the world, with almost 800 deaths a day.

Front-line health workers were forced into a steep learning curve that began with hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients during the first weeks of March.

“We’ve learned to treat a disease for which we had no cure or previous model,” said David Battinelli, chief medical officer for Northwell Health, which runs 23 hospitals throughout NYC and Long Island. “Our supportive care improved dramatically.”

For instance, in order to inhibit the growth of the virus, doctors are now treating patients with anti-viral drugs such as Remdesivir in the early stages of COVID-19, and supplementing that with a cocktail of anti-inflammatory steroids, such as dexamethasone, that could prevent respiratory failure.

One day at the intensive care unit of the European Hospital of MarseilleFILES-BRAZIL-HEALTH-VIRUSStamford Hospital Inundated With Patients During Coronavirus Pandemic

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