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COVID-19

Researchers say they have first evidence of a drug that can improve COVID-19 survival

Michelle Roberts and Alex Schroeder Jun 16, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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Jeenah Moon/Getty Images
COVID-19

Researchers say they have first evidence of a drug that can improve COVID-19 survival

Michelle Roberts and Alex Schroeder Jun 16, 2020
Jeenah Moon/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Researchers in England say they have the first evidence that a drug can improve COVID-19 survival: A cheap, widely available steroid called dexamethasone reduced deaths by up to one-third in severely ill hospitalized patients.

The medical trials in the United Kingdom have raised hopes of a major step forward in the treatment of patients who are seriously ill. It’s a major breakthrough after many trials looking to find a treatment that can help with severe symptoms.

Co-lead investigator and Oxford University professor Peter Horby of the Randomized Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) trial said the following in a statement:

“Dexamethasone is the first drug to be shown to improve survival in COVID-19. This is an extremely welcome result. The survival benefit is clear and large in those patients who are sick enough to require oxygen treatment, so dexamethasone should now become standard of care in these patients. Dexamethasone is inexpensive, on the shelf, and can be used immediately to save lives worldwide.”

This drug seems to dampen down the body’s immune response to the coronavirus. Some who are infected fight off the coronavirus and don’t need to go to the hospital, but others get very sick, struggle to breathe and need oxygen or a ventilator. It’s these patients, who require respiratory support, that the drug seems to really help.

With reporting from The Associated Press

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What does the unemployment picture look like?

It depends on where you live. The national unemployment rate has fallen from nearly 15% in April down to 8.4% percent last month. That number, however, masks some big differences in how states are recovering from the huge job losses resulting from the pandemic. Nevada, Hawaii, California and New York have unemployment rates ranging from 11% to more than 13%. Unemployment rates in Idaho, Nebraska, South Dakota and Vermont have now fallen below 5%.

Will it work to fine people who refuse to wear a mask?

Travelers in the New York City transit system are subject to $50 fines for not wearing masks. It’s one of many jurisdictions imposing financial penalties: It’s $220 in Singapore, $130 in the United Kingdom and a whopping $400 in Glendale, California. And losses loom larger than gains, behavioral scientists say. So that principle suggests that for policymakers trying to nudge people’s public behavior, it may be better to take away than to give.

How are restaurants recovering?

Nearly 100,000 restaurants are closed either permanently or for the long term — nearly 1 in 6, according to a new survey by the National Restaurant Association. Almost 4.5 million jobs still haven’t come back. Some restaurants have been able to get by on innovation, focusing on delivery, selling meal or cocktail kits, dining outside — though that option that will disappear in northern states as temperatures fall. But however you slice it, one analyst said, the United States will end the year with fewer restaurants than it began with. And it’s the larger chains that are more likely to survive.

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