Monday, January 24, 2022

Some Chicago doctors are optimistic about what a downward COVID-19 trendline might look like

Chicago (CBS) – While we still see an astonishing number of new COVID cases every day in Illinois, some on the front lines are seeing a trend they call “very encouraging.”

As Chris Tye of CBS 2 pointed out, the trendline at Rush University Medical Center is headed in a surprising direction — and that direction is down.

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These are numbers that are often leading indicators of where overall virus numbers are rising across the region – and while they have burned before, even some of the grizzled animals on the front line are optimistic.

Inside the ER at Rush last Friday there was concern that a hospital overflow was just unfolding amid the COVID surge.

“I believe we have a worse storm ahead of us,” Dr. Edward Ward told CBS 2’s Tye just a week ago.

But that storm, tempting for Dr. Ward, may have taken a turn for the better.

“Things are better than they were a few days ago,” Ward said on Friday. “That should give us some encouragement.”

A week ago, the numbers were rising steadily. In the last few days, there has been a big slowdown.

“Less people coming to the ER for treatment; Of those people, fewer people are being hospitalized; Fewer people need intensive care unit level care,” Ward said. “We have fewer of our employees getting sick, and more of our employees coming back from sick leave.”

Dr. Ward quickly points out that this drop in numbers may not be statistically significant, but he also doesn’t think it’s limited to Rush. In fact, other hospitals contacted by CBS2 on Friday have similar trends.

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Loyola University Medical Center is looking into it, and so is UChicago Medicine.

“We are seeing a slight decrease in the number of patients with COVID-19, although we do not know if this is a trend that will continue,” UChicago Medicine said in a statement.

But not everywhere the trend is represented.

“Unfortunately, we are still experiencing high patient volumes across our 11 hospital health systems,” Northwestern Medicine said in a statement.

Still, Ward said, “if we’re saying we’re at a plateau now — and there’s evidence to suggest this — then this boom will end faster than the last two.”

In Rush, they will understand the trend – understanding it can easily be turned upside down. But pinning down COVID numbers weeks earlier than expected takes a deep breath, a smile, and a chance for optimism.

“It’s the most optimistic of the last two to three months — easily,” Ward said.

The doctor is too quick to point out that these early signs shouldn’t do anything to reduce your responsibility for your guard, your mask, or your vaccinations.

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And again, they emphasize on Rush that this is only a few days of data and trends can reverse quickly. Still, the data is hopeful, and with so many employees back at work – refinishing the front lines – will also help immensely.


Nation World News Desk
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