Doctors Apply COVID-19 Lessons Learned as U.S. Cases Surge

November 19, 2020 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce

Last modified November 20, 2020

According to this article from The Wall Street Journal, doctors who have been treating COVID patients from the pandemic’s earliest days in the U.S. said they are now better equipped to face a new rise in hospitalizations. With evidence on drugs that work to combat COVID-19 symptoms, research on treatments, and their own patient experiences through these past few months, doctors aren’t feeling as if they’re “flying blind” like they did earlier in the year. As the virus resurges across the country, doctors are testing whether what they have learned so far will lead to shorter hospital stays and fewer deaths.

Doctors are now informed by peer-reviewed papers from around the world, clinical trials, and the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency clearance of some treatments. They’ve learned about promising treatments for hospitalized patients that include the antiviral remdesivir and convalescent plasma. Steroids such as dexamethasone have been shown in testing to be effective at tamping down the immune-system overdrive.

Another crucial difference in hospital treatment has stemmed from a better understanding of how to approach respiratory problems caused by the virus. Instead of rushing to put patients with low oxygen saturation on ventilators, which brings its own risks, doctors now know that people with low oxygen levels can remain that way longer than previously thought, Dr. Bankhead-Kendall said. For the most critically ill who do require ventilation, hospitals are expanding the use of technology to monitor those patients.

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