In the 12 months since Louisiana saw its first COVID case treatment has come a long way and many of the treatments that dominated headlines in the early days have been found ineffective, and even harmful.

Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport Chief of Hospital Medicine Dr. Mike Sewell said the current case fatality rate is far lower than it was this time last year when, according to one study last year, it was as high as four percent in New Orleans. He estimated we’re closer to one in one thousand cases.

Sewell said that number began to drop substantially in early fall once enough data was compiled to provide consistently effective treatment. He said early on there was little to no data and knowledge about how COVID impacted your body and research later showed many of the early treatments, such as extensive ventilator use, were ineffective. Sewell said some widely used treatments were even harmful.

“Now we are less likely to put people on ventilators, more likely to use alternative methods like high flow oxygen, proning, we’re using drugs like Remdesivir, an anti-viral, and Dexamethasone, which is a steroid,” said Sewell. He said other abandoned treatments for severe cases include convalescent plasma and hydroxychloroquine.

Another big change involves treating high-risk individuals early in their infection with monoclonal antibodies.

“Those patients that are mild, we can give them infusion therapies and it prevents them from progressing,” said Sewell.

The Louisiana Department of Health reports 9,769 COVID-19 deaths in the state since the start of the pandemic.

(Story written by Matt Doyle/Louisiana Radio Network)

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