Eight Needed Steps in the Fight Against COVID-19

Without modern medicine, COVID-19 would be a ghastlier plague. Some enter the hospital with pneumonia from the novel coronavirus and do well with extra oxygen alone, administered using a cannula placed in the nostrils or a plastic mask held over the face with an elastic band. After some days, the virus mercifully relents. Unfortunately, for others, it gains the upper hand, and fierce countermeasures are required. When the diaphragm tires, and the lungs fill with fluid, we place a breathing tube through the mouth and vocal cords down into the trachea, permitting artificial respiration via a breathing machine, or ventilator. Complications can then arise, organs often fail, and metabolism goes awry. Close and meticulous management by a team in the intensive care unit (ICU), where I work, can save the lives of some, but not all, of those facing this illness.

Boston Review