‘Breakthrough Finding’ Reveals Why Certain COVID Patients Die

Dr. Megan Ranney has learned a lot about COVID-19 since she began treating patients with the disease in the emergency department in February.

But there’s one question she still can’t answer: What makes some patients so much sicker than others?

Advancing age and underlying medical problems explain only part of the phenomenon, said Ranney, who has seen patients of similar age, background and health status follow wildly different trajectories.

“Why does one 40-year-old get really sick and another one not even need to be admitted?” asked Ranney, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Brown University.

In some cases, provocative new research shows, some people — men in particular — succumb because their immune systems are hit by friendly fire. Researchers hope the finding will help them develop targeted therapies for these patients.

In an international study in Science, 10% of nearly 1,000 COVID patients who developed life-threatening pneumonia had

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Prayers and Grief Counseling After COVID: Trying to Aid Healing in Long-Term Care

A tidal wave of grief and loss has rolled through long-term care facilities as the coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 91,000 residents and staffers — nearly 40% of recorded COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.

And it’s not over: Facilities are bracing for further shocks as coronavirus cases rise across the country.

Workers are already emotionally drained and exhausted after staffing the front lines — and putting themselves at significant risk — since March, when the pandemic took hold. And residents are suffering deeply from losing people they once saw daily, the disruption of routines and being cut off from friends and family.

In response, nursing homes and assisted living centers are holding memorials for people who’ve died, having chaplains and social workers help residents and staff, and bringing in hospice providers to offer grief counseling, among other strategies. More than 2 million vulnerable older adults live in these facilities.

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‘Everyone needs to do their part’ | Health Beat

The high percentage of tests coming back positive for COVID-19 indicates the virus is widespread in the community. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

A worrisome rise in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks has resulted in Spectrum Health leaders turning to the community to ask for their help in slowing the spread of the virus.

They’re also making changes within the health care system to care for the community and limit the upward march of cases, Spectrum Health President & CEO Tina Freese Decker said.

In a recent community update, Freese Decker and Darryl Elmouchi, MD, president of Spectrum Health West Michigan, shared an overview of their actions:

  • Expanding ICU capacity and dedicating more space to care for patients battling COVID-19.
  • Further limiting visitors to keep patients and the community as safe as possible.
  • Moving services to outpatient facilities as much as possible and emphasizing curbside and virtual services.
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