The coronavirus pandemic has shone the spotlight in Africa’s health system. FILE PHOTO (Claudio Furlan/LaPresse via AP)

Study shows Covid-19 ICU mortality rates cut by a third

CAPE TOWN- The Covid-19 global pandemic has led to a high demand for intensive healthcare services with a high proportion of patients requiring respiratory support.

A recent study shows that intensive care mortality rates have fallen by a third since the start of pandemic. The death rate in March stood at 59.5 percent and dropped to 42 percent at the end of May.

The analysis by the University of Bristol examined 24 observational studies including 10,150 patients who were identified from centres across Asia, Europe and North America.

While early reports claimed that patients admitted to Intensive Care Units (ICU) with Covid‐19 have high mortality, the study suggests the death rate has dropped and that it could be due to better hospital care. 

The research, led by Professor Tim Cook of England’s Royal United Hospitals Bath also suggested that hospital ICUs might have been under greater pressure early in the pandemic.

It is hoped that ICU survival rates will improve further after dexamethasone was found to be the first drug scientifically proven to treat severe Covid-19 cases. The cheap anti-inflammatory can reduce the risk of death in patients on ventilation by up to 35 percent.

The authors of the study emphasized that the recent Covid-19 ICU mortality rate of 40 percent is still much higher than the 22 percent for other viral cases of pneumonia.

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CORONAVIRUS MONITOR