While much of the nation remains locked in a stressful, unending mess known as 2020, there does appear to be a bit of good news on the horizon.
COVID-19 cases are rising again in parts of the United States and the world at large, with another outbreak reported at another wet market in China to boot. Historically, pandemic viruses tend to have a rather sizable second wave, sometimes far more widespread and dangerous than the first, which is alarming to health officials who are watching Americans protest en masse and eschew social distancing to celebrate Memorial Day and, presumably, the upcoming July 4th holiday.
Now, perhaps just in the nick of time, a breakthrough has been made in the treatment of the illness.
The low-dose steroid treatment dexamethasone is a major breakthrough in the fight against the deadly virus, UK experts say.take our poll - story continues below
The drug is part of the world’s biggest trial testing existing treatments to see if they also work for coronavirus.
It cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators. For those on oxygen, it cut deaths by a fifth.
Had the drug had been used to treat patients in the UK from the start of the pandemic, up to 5,000 lives could have been saved, researchers say.
The numbers were simply staggering.
In the trial, led by a team from Oxford University, about 2,000 hospital patients were given dexamethasone and compared with more than 4,000 who were not.
For patients on ventilators, it cut the risk of death from 40% to 28%.
For patients needing oxygen, it cut the risk of death from 25% to 20%.
The news comes as terrifying new estimates show that the United States could experience a near-doubling of coronavirus deaths by Halloween, with September earmarked to become a particularly harrowing month for the nation.
Become an insider!
Sign up for our free email newsletter, and we'll make sure to keep you in the loop.