A large number of U.S. COVID deaths could be prevented if patients would take Paxlovid, the antiviral developed by Pfizer
that helps reduce the risk of hospitalization and death, according to White House COVID coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha. Jha told the New York Times that the average daily death count could be reduced to about 50 a day from 400 currently, if every American aged 50 and above that tests positive for the virus took a course of either Paxlovid or used monoclonal antibodies.
“The public doesn’t seem to understand that the evidence around hospitalization and deaths is really powerful,” Dr. Robert Wachter, chair of medicine at the University of California in San Francisco told the paper. The issue seems to be a combination of worry about certain issues that Paxlovid can cause, including a strange metallic taste and the potential for “rebound COVID,” where patients quickly become reinfected after the five-day course of pills has been completed. That happened to both President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden recently. The second reason is that many Americans — and Republicans, in particular — have refused to take COVID seriously and are not willing to take steps to reduce its impact. Trials have found Paxlovid to be effective across all age groups, but mostly among older patients. But as the COVID death rate for people under 50 is already close to zero, reducing it in a statistically significant way is difficult. See now: CDC scraps travel health notices as countries slow testing, and study confirms Republican-leaning counties suffered more COVID deaths than Democrat-leaning ones