Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

 
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.


He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

 
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.
 

Studies: COVID-19 mortality plunging in hospitals

Two new studies have found that the death rate among COVID-19 patients has significantly dropped since the beginning of the epidemic in March.

[One] study, which looked at over 5,000 patients inside the Langone Health system, discovered that in the study timeframe, the mortality rate decreased from 25.6 percent in March to 7.6 percent in August—an 18 percentage point decrease from the start of the pandemic.

According to the data, the median age was seen to have decreased over time, meaning that as time went on, most patients infected with the CCP virus were younger. Although that change seemed to partially explain the decreased mortality rate, it didn’t account for all of it. “Even after risk adjustment for variety of clinical and demographic factors, including severity of illness at presentation, mortality was significantly and progressively lower over the course of the study period,” the study stated.

Patients of all ages experienced a decreased mortality rate. Among those, patients who were at or over the age of 75 saw the largest decrease, from just under 45 percent in the beginning of March to a under 10 percent in August.

The other study confirmed these results. Both suggest a range of factors, most of which centered on doctors learning more about the disease and thus treating it more effectively.

Overall the data confirms once again that COVID-19 is not the plague, and should not be feared in the same way. Yes, like the flu it can kill, but the conditions almost always require the patient to be very old and already badly weakened from other illnesses. For everyone else, the risks are far less, with the likelihood that if you get it, you will easily recover.

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7 comments

  • Andrew _W

    The study demonstrates that by slowing the rate of the spread of the virus we’ve given medical science time to learn, which has saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

  • pzatchok

    And what did the doctors learn?

    One thing they learned was that it takes a plague to get the government to let them use a proven drug on humans for untested diseases.

    Other than that they are just treating symptoms like always.

  • Andrew_W

    Pzatchok. This was the result of their better understanding:
    Patients of all ages experienced a decreased mortality rate. Among those, patients who were at or over the age of 75 saw the largest decrease, from just under 45 percent in the beginning of March to a under 10 percent in August.
    The doctors treating patients are the same, their understanding has obviously greatly improved with time an experience.

  • pzatchok

    I asked what they specifically learned not another statement that the mortality rate went down.

  • m d mill

    The fact the mortality rate is falling is simply fantastic, in any case.

  • Bernard

    pzatchok,

    The current treatment protocols for COVID are not particularly complicated – Remdesivir if within a week of onset of the disease, consider convalescent plasma transfusion for patients within the same timeline or those outside of that windows but without intrinsic antibodies against the virus, steroid therapy for anyone with moderate to severe illness. Recent studies have really put a damper on the enthusiasm for both Remdesivir and convalescent plasma – it appears that these do not work as well as we initially thought. So we are really just left with steroid therapy as the main thing in terms of therapeutics that is different than at the beginning, and it appears that is making a significant difference.
    There are two other things outside of therapeutics that have helped. At the beginning of the pandemic physicians everywhere were going to intubation and ventilator support very early in the course of the disease – much earlier than in other situations with a comparable degree of respiratory failure. There was a feeling early on that patients tended to present with moderate disease and then rapidly progress to severe respiratory failure and death, and that if you did not put them on the ventilator quickly they would die. This turns out to not be the case, possibly now in part due to the use of steroids earlier in the course of the disease. Being put on a ventilator has it’s own risks and the widespread use of ventilators early in the pandemic likely contributed to the overall mortality, particularly in the elderly.
    The second thing that has improved the overall mortality is the ‘flattening of the curve’, as Andrew _W pointed out. Not only has this allowed more time for physicians to learn about the disease, but kept hospitals from being completely overrun. The bulk of the mortality early in the pandemic was from New York. Although the anti-science and anti-truth crowd here claim that the healthcare system there was never stressed, but the reality is clearly that they were. They were flying nurses and doctors in from around the country to help, had long lines outside the EDs, and were housing patients in the hallways. The field hospitals and the Navy hospital ship did not see much use, but they were on the brink of needing to spill over into these spaces. When a healthcare system is stressed, mortality from all causes go up. Care is impacted, less experienced healthcare workers are asked to work outside of their level of training, equipment becomes scarce, medications become scarce – the system starts to fail.
    The problem is that if the predictive models are correct for the coming months, we are going to be back in a bad situation with regard to hospital capacity and overall stress on the medical system. Mortality will go back up as a result. But the folks here deny that any of that is happening. The reality is much different, but they cannot be convinced of that.

  • sippin_bourbon

    “Recent studies have really put a damper on the enthusiasm for both Remdesivir..”
    Only one study has said Remdesivir has no effect, and it has not been peer reviewed yet.
    The Study was done by the WHO, which in my opinion has a checked history on this pandemic.

    We shall see, but since its uses has started, the rate of deaths is down (and still declining over the last month). Reality may ptove to be the largest and most accurate study study.
    The FDA and the EU appear to be sticking with it, after authorizing it’s use.

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