2020 is over, however that’s not magic in relation to ending COVID-19

Over ten months into the pandemic, the states with the very best variety of deaths per inhabitants are … New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts. Sure, North Dakota and South Dakota have been working very laborious to dislodge these states on the prime of the record, and contemplating that these states have truly skipped out on reporting for a number of days, they might have even moved up a notch, however what’s wonderful is simply how lengthy the Northeast stares have held thus extraordinarily doubtful “honor.”

Regardless of a surge throughout the South in the summertime, and a largely Midwestern surge within the fall, regardless of case counts that put the unique Northeast surge within the rear view, these states nonetheless took the most important hit from the novel coronavirus. And the rationale isn’t laborious to see. Proper now, the case fatality price for COVID-19 within the U.S. stands at simply over 1.7%. However on the finish of Might, that case fatality price stood at 5.5%.

A part of that distinction got here as a result of a 12 months of wrangling with the SARS-CoV-2 virus has given medical doctors and nurses perception into the perfect methods to deal with sufferers. Anti-inflammatory steroids assist with sufferers needing respiratory help. Monoclonal antibodies, although nonetheless in low provide, are very efficient for sufferers in early phases. Even intubating sufferers on their sides relatively than their backs has made a distinction.

However the greatest distinction in care is just… care. The explanation these dying charges have been so excessive within the early days is as a result of the healthcare system was utterly unprepared and overwhelmed. And right here’s one thing that hasn’t modified: The fatality price for untreated COVID-19 stays round 10%.

Which implies that tales like Los Angeles hospitals having to treat patients in gift shops,  or Texas setting hospitalization records 5 days in a row are an enormous purple flag. Case fatality price has been declining slowly since that first surge of circumstances, but it surely doesn’t have to remain that approach. A genuinely overwhelmed system at this level may rapidly generate a peak in deaths that will reverse that pattern. And whereas medical doctors have realized, they’re additionally extremely exhausted. Not simply exhausted, truly, as a result of over 2,000 healthcare employees within the U.S. have died from COVID-19.

It’s not sufficient to say that it is a essential level, as a result of each second of this pandemic has been essential. Each second is a second when good actions could make issues higher, and continued inaction will make issues worse. And each second can be irritating as a result of the adjustments we make immediately aren’t seen for weeks.

The coronavirus didn’t magically go away within the spring. It didn’t magically go away simply because the countless 12 months lastly ended. It gained’t go away simply because Joe Biden strikes into the White Home. It should solely go away when there’s satisfactory testing, environment friendly contact tracing, efficient social distancing, widespread use of masks, and efficient distribution of vaccines.

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