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Are doctors better at treating Covid-19? Uk’s death rate has FALLEN to a quarter of peak level

The risk of dying from coronavirus after being hospitalised has plummeted since the peak of the outbreak, suggesting doctors are getting better at treating it.

Analysis by Oxford University shows that 6 per cent of people admitted to hospitals in England with the virus died at the beginning of April.

But the figures show by June 15, just 1.5 per cent of Covid-19 patients were dying of the disease – a quarter of the level at the peak of the crisis.

Oxford statisticians can’t pin down exactly why survival rates have fallen so much – but they believe doctors may be becoming better at treating the virus.

In April there was no approved medicine to treat Covid-19, a disease still shrouded in mystery after jumping from animals to humans at the end of 2019. 

But now the NHS now has two drugs at its disposal to treat critically-ill patients – the Ebola medicine remdesivir and anti-inflammatory steroid dexamethasone.

Dexamethasone, a £5 steroid that has existed for decades, was the first drug proven to reduce the death rate among hospitalised patients needing oxygen. 

The evidence around remdesivir is more mixed but studies have shown it helps the most critically ill people who need ventilation. 

There is probably also be fewer people catching the coronavirus in hospital than at the peak of the crisis, which may have contributed to the fall in death rates.

Hospital patients are inherently more likely to be already unwell or elderly and so are more likely to die if they do catch it. 

Analysis by Oxford University shows that 6 per cent of people admitted to hospitals in England with the virus died at the beginning of April. But the figures show that by June 15, just 1.5 per cent of Covid-19 patients were falling victim to the disease – a quarter of the level at the peak

Of 10,387 people in hospital in England with Covid-19 on April 2, 644 died, giving a death rate of 6 per cent.

On June 15, 50 out of 3,270 hospital patients fell victim to the disease, which works out at roughly 1.5 per cent. 

The researchers considered whether those being admitted to hospital were younger, and so more likely to survive.

Decline in new coronavirus cases has ‘levelled off’ as data shows between 1,900 and 3,200 people are still catching Covid-19 in England each day 

Between 1,900 and 3,200 people are catching the coronavirus every day in England — but the speed at which the outbreak is shrinking has ‘levelled off’, according to data. 

The estimate is lower than last week, when two separate projections from King’s College London experts and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) ranged from between 3,200 to 3,800.  

King’s College’s COVID Symptom Tracker app predicts 1,978 people in England are getting struck down daily. The ONS, whose estimate is based on population swab testing, puts the figure at approximately 3,142. 

But statisticians cautioned the number of people infected with Covid-19 could have even gone up — from 33,000 people a fortnight ago to 51,000 on June 21, around 0.09 per cent of the population (one in 1,100 people).

The ONS explained that the extremely small sample size — the number is based only on 14 positive tests, up from 10 last week — is likely to have swayed the estimate. Experts stopped short of saying the outbreak had rebounded and started to rise again, instead saying there was no evidence it was either growing nor shrinking. 

Government advisers today claimed the R rate for the UK and England remains between 0.7 and 0.9 for the third week in a row. But they admitted it could be as high as 1.0 in the North West. Number 10’s scientific advisory panel SAGE today also revealed the growth rate — how the number of new daily cases is changing day-by-day — is still between minus four and minus two per cent. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week dramatically unwound the coronavirus lockdown, bringing the country out of ‘hibernation’ — with a return for pubs, haircuts and weddings and family and friends getting the green light to meet up indoors for the first time in months. 

The Prime Minister said he wanted to ‘make life easier’ after an ‘incredibly tough time’ with bars, restaurants, cinemas and hairdressers in England able to get back up and running from July 4 – dubbed ‘Super Saturday’.

But the data showed there are actually now more deaths over the age of 60 than at the peak in early April. 

Jason Oke, from the University of Oxford, was one of the statisticians behind the UK analysis. 

He told The Times that he was initially uneasy about releasing the analysis, adding: ‘We sat on it. We had a good discussion about it to try and work out all the different ways we could be wrong.

‘Then we thought we should put it out there — it’s what we’ve observed. The caveat is, we don’t really understand why this is happening. But it’s happening.’

Other hard-hit countries, including the US and Italy are seeing similar trends in their death rates. 

Dr Oke admitted the newly-approved drugs may be partly behind the fall, but he said there would be other factors at play.

He warned a less optimistic explanation may be that a large number of mild to moderately ill patients were turned away from hospitals in April.

He said: ‘Maybe early on the pandemic, when we thought we would be overrun, we took only the severest cases.’  

If only the sickest patients – who are more likely to die from Covid – were being treated, then this could skew the death rate upwards, even if there was no difference in the actual survival rate. 

The total number of people dying with Covid-19 in English hospitals each week has fallen by 4.3 per cent a day, meaning numbers have halved every 16 days.

Deaths hit their peak of 899 on April 8 but have since fallen to just 50 on the week ending June 15. 

The number of people in hospital with coronavirus has also fallen from a peak of 15,702 on April 10 to 2,891 on the June 19 – meaning numbers have halved every month. 

Data shows that between 1,900 and 3,200 people are catching the coronavirus every day in England — but the speed at which the outbreak is shrinking has ‘levelled off’, according to data. 

The estimate is lower than last week, when two separate projections from King’s College London experts and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) ranged from between 3,200 to 3,800. 

King’s College’s COVID Symptom Tracker app predicts 1,978 people in England are getting struck down daily. The ONS, whose estimate is based on population swab testing, puts the figure at approximately 3,142. 

But statisticians cautioned the number of people infected with Covid-19 could have even gone up — from 33,000 people a fortnight ago to 51,000 on June 21, around 0.09 per cent of the population (one in 1,100 people).

The ONS explained that the extremely small sample size — the number is based only on 14 positive tests, up from 10 last week — is likely to have swayed the estimate. 

King's College London 's COVID Symptom Tracker app estimates that just 2,341 Britons are being struck down with the coronavirus every day. Last week they used this data to estimate that there were 3,612 people catching the virus every day in Britain and roughly 4,942 people the week before that. The figure was higher than 11,000 per day a month ago

King’s College London ‘s COVID Symptom Tracker app estimates that just 2,341 Britons are being struck down with the coronavirus every day. Last week they used this data to estimate that there were 3,612 people catching the virus every day in Britain and roughly 4,942 people the week before that. The figure was higher than 11,000 per day a month ago

Experts stopped short of saying the outbreak had rebounded and started to rise again, instead saying there was no evidence it was either growing nor shrinking. 

Government advisers today claimed the R rate for the UK and England remains between 0.7 and 0.9 for the third week in a row. But they admitted it could be as high as 1.0 in the North West. Number 10’s scientific advisory panel SAGE today also revealed the growth rate — how the number of new daily cases is changing day-by-day — is still between minus four and minus two per cent. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week dramatically unwound the coronavirus lockdown, bringing the country out of ‘hibernation’ — with a return for pubs, haircuts and weddings and family and friends getting the green light to meet up indoors for the first time in months. 

The Prime Minister said he wanted to ‘make life easier’ after an ‘incredibly tough time’ with bars, restaurants, cinemas and hairdressers in England able to get back up and running from July 4 – dubbed ‘Super Saturday’.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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