Thanks largely to a decline in one coronavirus hotspot, the number of deaths from COVID-19 -- the disease it can trigger -- should begin to fall next week. That, at least, was the prediction of Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the government's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Following persistent urging from healthcare professionals, combined with mandates from many municipalities and states, much of the population seems to be complying with measures such as social distancing and habitual mask-wearing in public.
This is one reason Redfield is sounding an optimistic note on what's to come soon. "I think we're going to start to see a decline in mortality across the country now next week as we continue to get control of these cases," he said in an interview with Dr. Howard Bauchner of the influential Journal of the American Medical Association.
If his hope is realized, fatalities from the disease will start to follow the trajectory of total cases, which, on a national level, have been on the decline for nearly one month. On Thursday, for example, according to data compiled by The Wall Street Journal, the number of daily new cases was below 50,000 for the sixth day in a row, at a total of slightly over 44,000.
There's currently no widely approved drug to treat coronavirus/COVID-19, nor is there a vaccine.
Numerous biotech and pharmaceutical companies are developing such products. A few -- such as Moderna's mRNA-1273 vaccine candidate -- are in late-stage clinical trials.
One drug, the repurposed remdesivir from Gilead Sciences is being used to treat the disease. However, it has received only Food and Drug Administration Emergency Use Authorization, only for use in certain instances.