Are We Getting Better at Treating COVID-19?

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones’ newsletters.I received this email earlier today from reader BL:

Just read your article about what’s going on with deaths vs. case rates. My wife, a nurse of 35 years, adds that there are a couple other contributing factors causing deaths to drop while cases increase.
First is, healthcare doctors and nurses are much better at treating Covid patients. In the beginning, it was shooting from the hip. Now, they’ve developed and shared strategies to help patients live through this and even recover much faster, including med combos, turning patients on the stomachs and other such things. Secondly, the public is much more aware so we recognize a potential symptom, get tested and treated much faster than we did a few months ago.
There’s been info floating around also from doctors around the world that the virus is weakening. Although not confirmed medically yet, doctors in Italy and, I think, India are swearing that it’s not as potent. Viruses can and do often mutate into something else, and if it makes itself weaker, it can’t “fix” itself, so it’s stuck being less deadly. Again, not proven, but there are doctors convinced of it.

Better treatment probably doesn’t explain 100 percent of the divergence between cases rising and deaths falling, but it might explain a lot (and the younger age profile of recent cases might explain the rest). This is anecdotal, of course, but I thought it was an interesting observation, and one that was worth passing along since I haven’t seen it widely reported. I would be interested to hear more about this.

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