When Louisiana was in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic not only were case rates surging but the number of deaths attributed to the disease or complications brought on by the disease was quite alarming. Now, as case rates and hospitalization rates are again rising quickly, the death rates and ventilator use rates are not following that same steep curve.

Why is that?

Ochsner Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Hart spoke with the Louisiana Radio Network and explained that the rate of fatal cases and ventilator usage was likely less with this surge because most of the new cases of COVID-19 are occurring in younger people.

They don’t have the comorbid illnesses that we saw in the big surge back in March and April so frankly we are not having to ventilate as many people.

While most of the state's hospitals have plenty of ventilator capacity available, they are seeing quite a pinch when it comes to hospital beds. That is an issue that will become more problematic should our society not be able to control the spread of the virus.

Perhaps another reason why rates of fatal outcomes and ventilator usage are not rising as fast as confirmed cases of the disease is that healthcare providers have discovered better techniques to treat the symptoms of the disease. Among those techniques has been the introduction of medications such as Remdesivir.

Many medicines like Remdesivir were not available or their advantages were not known to doctors during the earlier stages of the pandemic. Fortunately, it does appear as if that medication is available to Louisiana patients whose doctors recommend it.

Still, the best way to treat the disease is to not get the disease.  That means following basic guidelines as suggested by the CDC. Among those guidelines are frequent hand washing and the wearing of facial covering in public.