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‘It’s traumatic’: coronavirus deaths on the rise again

Things seemed to be improving, but Mr Sierra Macias took a turn for the worse. He was 49 years old.

Mr Alvarado said it was difficult to cope with such a loss, even though people around him seemed not to take the virus seriously, believing he was being overdone or thinking, in some way. another, that he was not dangerous.

It seems people think the news is too thoughtful, excessive,” said Mr Alvarado, who said he was waiting for the paperwork to send his stepfather’s body to the funeral in Ciudad Juárez, in Mexico, where cemeteries lack space. . “You don’t realize the situation until you experience it.”

Improved medical treatments for the virus emerged in the months following its arrival in the United States, offering hope that even if cases skyrocketed before a vaccine was available, deaths could be delayed.

A steroid, dexamethasone, has been shown to help seriously ill people; a new antibody treatment, similar to therapy given to President Trump shortly after contracting the coronavirus, has just obtained emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration; and doctors now know to put patients aside to improve oxygen flow, one of the many best practices that have emerged over the months of battling Covid-19. The case fatality rate – a crude measure that examines the share of people who have died among those known to have tested positive – has dropped throughout the pandemic, according to public health experts.

Yet hospitals are now filling up with patients, threatening the limits of medical systems in some areas. More than 68,000 people are hospitalized with the virus, more than two previous peaks in spring and summer. Even the best drugs and techniques lose their usefulness if too many people fall ill at the same time, straining staff and supplies.

“When you’ve overwhelmed the health care system, no one will get optimal care,” said Dr. Jessica Justman, an epidemiologist at Columbia University.