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

Michelle Roberts and Alex Schroeder Jun 16, 2020
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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
Heard on:
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

So what’s up with “Zoom fatigue”?

It’s a real thing. The science backs it up — there’s new research from Stanford University. So why is it that the technology can be so draining? Jeremy Bailenson with Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab puts it this way: “It’s like being in an elevator where everyone in the elevator stopped and looked right at us for the entire elevator ride at close-up.” Bailenson said turning off self-view and shrinking down the video window can make interactions feel more natural and less emotionally taxing.

How are Americans spending their money these days?

Economists are predicting that pent-up demand for certain goods and services is going to burst out all over as more people get vaccinated. A lot of people had to drastically change their spending in the pandemic because they lost jobs or had their hours cut. But at the same time, most consumers “are still feeling secure or optimistic about their finances,” according to Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail, which regularly surveys shoppers. A lot of people enjoy browsing in stores, especially after months of forced online shopping. And another area expecting a post-pandemic boost: travel.

What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?

Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”

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