BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It had been nearly two weeks since Gov. Kay Ivey a public health state of emergency and UAB doctors said within a week there had been a rapid increase in COVID-19 positive patients being admitted into the hospital.
Health professionals around the world continue to work feverishly to find a vaccine or drug to treat COVID-19.
Wednesday night, Alabama reported its first death due to COVID-19. Across the country more than 1,000 people died.
Associate professor, UAB division of infectious diseases Dr. Jodie Dionne – Odom said most post-mortem studies of COVID-19 patients show that many of them had a very severe type of pneumonia.
“They were difficult to oxygenate, difficult to get enough oxygen in their body. And some of them at the end ended up having heart problems, also. So really, it’s a problem of some of your organs shutting down because the oxygenation is not working the way it should,“ Dionne – Odom said.
On Wednesday, there were at least 60-65 COVID-19 patients at UAB and half of them were on ventilators in serious condition, according to a UAB spokesperson.
The numbers changed by the minute much like the research to find a vaccine or drug combination that would effectively treat the deadly virus.
Dionne-Odom said treatment and vaccine trials were happening at the same time so researchers did not have to choose which course of action was better than the other.
“There has been a lot of discussion about a combination therapy called Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin which is one of the drugs that’s being tested in NIH trials now. We don’t have results yet there’s only been small studies one showing benefits, one showing no difference. So, we need to wait for more definitive studies to be done before we can say if it’s really effective or not,” Dionne – Odom said.
Dionne-Odom said measures like the shelter in place ordinance passed in Birmingham Tuesday night and the following day in Tuscaloosa were proving effective in other states and countries in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
State health professionals say the majority of people who contract COVID-19 will recover, but it is the elderly and those with underlying health issues that are most at risk.
Because there is currently no vaccine or viable treatment, the best thing we can do is slow down the spread of COVID-19 and give doctors time to figure it out.