The latest good news and bad news about COVID-19

BY FREDA MIKLIN
STAFF WRITER

First, the good news. On November 5, Pfizer announced that its oral antiviral product, which it developed under the trade name Paxlovid, “reduced risk of hospitalization or death by 89% in an interim analysis of the Phase 2/3 evaluation of protease inhibition for COVID-19 in high-risk patients randomized, double-blind study of non-hospitalized adult patients with COVID-19, who are at high risk of progressing to severe illness.” Due to the overwhelmingly positive results of the study, all parties involved decided to end it early and submit the results to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization as soon as possible. Pfizer anticipates that, once approved, this drug could be broadly prescribed “as an at-home treatment to help reduce illness-severity, hospitalizations and deaths, as well as reduce the probability of infection following exposure among adults.” Additionally, the company announced that it “is working to ensure access for its novel antiviral candidate for those most in need around the world, pending successful trial results and regulatory approval.”

Back in our state…In a press conference on Friday, November 5, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) COVID-19 Incident Commander Scott Bookman delivered the news that there are 1,296 patients in Colorado who are hospitalized with COVID-19, which is still significantly less than the 1,847 patients who were hospitalized with the virus in December 2020 but several hundred more than were hospitalized a few short weeks ago. As of Friday, November 5, there were less than 100 beds available in all intensive care units combined in Colorado hospitals statewide. Bookman cited a number of reasons, including fewer staff members available due to several reasons, one being burn-out from the long-term affects of the pandemic. Another reason is that many Coloradans delayed needed medical care and procedures because they were afraid to go to hospitals because of COVID-19 patients there. He also talked about a general increase in injuries as people resume post-pandemic activity levels.

According to CDPHE, Colorado currently has the 5th highest daily case rate of COVID-19 in the United States at 49 per 100,000 and the rate of growth is also among the fastest. Additionally, “the metro region’s seven-day average positivity rate is over eight percent, which suggests a continued surge in cases.” As of October 30, 80% of those hospitalized were unvaccinated. 

fmiklin.villager@gmail.com