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It seemed interminably slow then, what with all the haze and fear of fresh plague, but in hindsight it was a medical marvel: From January 2020 to February 2021, researchers proved four different effective therapies for patients hospitalized with Covid-19 — a lightning pace for drug research, where progress is often measured in decades.

That picture has changed starkly. Advances in treating the sickest Covid patients have stalled. Since February 2021, no new therapies for the hospitalized have emerged as decisively effective, even as over 2,000 patients continue to die daily around the globe, including 300 to 500 in the U.S. 


“I was on service last week and had six critical Covid patients, and three of them died,” said Wes Ely, who co-directs the Critical Illness, Brain Dysfunction and Survivorship Center at Vanderbilt University. “I just got a text five minutes ago that a friend’s husband died of Covid yesterday. He was 58. People think it’s not happening, but it’s absolutely still happening.”

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