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One-third of coronavirus patients who end up in the ICU don’t survive

Published May 15th, 2020 7:06PM EDT
Coronavirus Deaths
Image: Ross D Franklin/AP/Shutterstock

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  • A new study finds that one-third of coronavirus patients who end up in the ICU are unable to recover.
  • The coronavirus is more dangerous than doctors initially determined as the virus can relentlessly attack all of a victim’s vital organs.
  • Doctors recently concluded that a loss of smell is a strong indication of an underlying coronavirus infection.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

One of the more frightening aspects of the coronavirus is that there’s still much about the virus doctors and researchers are trying to figure out. Even something as seemingly simple as putting together a comprehensive list of symptoms has proved challenging given that new information about the virus is being unearthed by doctors with each passing week.

What we can say for certain, at this point, is that the coronavirus is far more dangerous than many people believed early on. Though it was initially categorized as a purely respiratory disease, we now know that the virus can attack all vital organs within the body, including the heart and the kidneys.  And while individuals above the age of 60 are more likely to suffer serious complications from infection, even young adults with the virus can experience something as severe as a stroke.

The coronavirus “can attack almost anything in the body with devastating consequences,” Yale cardiologist Harlan Krumholz said a few weeks back. “Its ferocity is breathtaking and humbling.”

Once the coronavirus really gains a foothold in the body, the road to recovery is incredibly challenging. To this point, a recent study found that 1/3 of patients who end up in the ICU on account of the coronavirus do not recover.

Medical Daily reports:

Some recent figures are far from comforting, revealing that a third of COVID-19 patients who end up in ICUs do not recover and die. In a study by the Scottish Intensive Care Society Audit Group, it was found that the ICU mortality rate of 32.9 percent was higher compared to the normal death rates in critical care settings. Researchers looked into the case of 472 adult ICU patients admitted up to May 2. The 44.1 percent were able to recover and were discharged, while the remaining were still in intensive care.

The numbers were pretty fair compared to ICU cases in 2018. At the time, only 18 percent of patients admitted to ICU died while in the hospital, BBC reported. For comparison, other similar studies showed 46.8 percent passed away when their outcome had been reported.

Of course, many corona patients who end up in the ICU tend to have pre-existing health conditions, whether it be diabetes or already compromised lungs resulting from a lifetime of smoking. It’s also worth noting that men are more likely than women to suffer severe coronavirus infections. Additionally, coronavirus patients above the age of 70 are far less likely to beat the virus than younger patients.

So while the 1/3 figure above does come with a few qualifications, the figure still underscores the importance of adhering to social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home directives. And now that many states are looking to reopen, taking the aforementioned safety measures seriously becomes that much more important.

As it stands now, there have been an estimated 87,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States since the pandemic started.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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