LOUISVILLE, KY. — Coronavirus cases are spiking in the commonwealth, but the death toll isn't going up at the same rate. While this is welcome news, it does leave many wondering why that is.

What You Need To Know

  • While Kentucky COVID-19 cases rise, deaths don't

  • UofL doctor says new developments are part of the reason why

  • Fewer deaths are also attributed to health care staff learning how to better care for COVID-19 patients

  • Many cases are impacting younger residents who are less at risk for death

When coronavirus cases were first reported, the virus was a mystery. Scientists and health professionals were, and are, constantly adjusting and trying to fight it. Since those first cases, there have been several new developments that have improved patient outcomes.

Dr. Jon Klein from the University of Louisville said that's part of the reason why death rates aren't rising at the same rate as infections.

"We are getting better at treating the sickest people or hospitalized people with COVID-19. There are a few drugs that have started to make a difference," Klein said.

The two drugs he specifically pointed out are remdesivir and dexamethasone. He said both have been shown to help patients with severe illness recover while other advancements are in the methodology.

"There is actually more basic stuff that is going on that is attributed to ICU doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists. They've figured out small practical things that have to do with something as simple as positioning a patient to allow them to oxygenate better that appears to be making significant differences," Klein said.

Aside from health care advancements, another explanation comes down to who is testing positive. 

"A lot of recent numbers of tests are in young people who tend to have less mortalities. We've seen this demographic shift in who is testing positive for the virus. it's moved nationally into the 18 to 40-year-old ages," Klein said.

He warns if Kentuckians are not careful now, things could very likely shift back.

"What generally happens is, once that pool of individuals gets infected, it begins to spread to the older population again. It flips back to that 50 to 80-year-old age group and you begin to see an increased number of mortalities," Klein said.

If that does happen, the hope is that some of these current medical advancements and future ones can help save lives so Kentucky doesn't lose as many residents as it did in the early stages of the virus.