NEW YORK CITY—Despite the rapid increases in coronavirus cases across the country and the world, researchers have found that the mortality rate has been significantly reduced. Scientists from New York City have been researching coronavirus hospitalizations, and have found that the mortality rate has reduced up to 85% since the start of the pandemic, largely due to improved treatments.
Two new peer-reviewed studies from NYU, in collaboration with Yale University and The British Medical Journal, reported a sharp drop in mortality rates among hospitalized COVID-19 patients when compared to the death rate during the start of the pandemic. The study analyzed more than 5,000 hospitalizations in the NYU Langone Health system between March and August. The conclusion was that the mortality rate has dropped for all groups, from young and healthy individuals, to older patients with severe underlying conditions.
“We find that the death rate has gone down substantially”, said Leora Horwitz in a public statement, a doctor from NYU’s Grossman School of Medicine.
These new studies published new statistics, which state that the mortality rate among hospitalized patients has dropped 18 percentage points since the start of the pandemic. The study said that in March, hospitalized patients with severe symptoms had a 25.6% chance of dying, but among the same group, the new mortality rate now stands at 7.6%.
“Early reports showed high mortality from Covid-19; by contrast, the current outbreaks in the southern and western United States are associated with fewer deaths, raising hope that treatments have improved”, states part of the new research article.
Although this reduction in mortality rate is a significant improvement, researchers still pointed out that 7.6% is still quite a high risk when compared to the seasonal flu.
“It still has the potential to be very harmful in terms of long-term consequences for many people,” Horwitz further explained.
While the exact cause for the decrease in mortality rate is still unknown, researchers credit improved treatments and new strategies that doctors have taken since March. For example, doctors have realized that adequate oxygen supply is not the only problem for patients, but also increased risks of blood clots and potentially-deadly “cytokine storms”. As a result, doctors can now prevent these complications from occurring, and are also better at providing a combination of medicines and supportive care.
Doctors also credit mask-wearing and social-distancing for reducing the overall severity of illness, as keeping hospitals below maximum capacity results in better care and therefore increased survival rates for patients.
The new study will soon appear in the medical journal Critical Care Medicine, and the hope is that the CDC’s current statistics will be modified to fit this new research.