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ICU and ventilator mortality rate among critically ill COVID-19 patients. Early in the pandemic, the need for mechanical ventilation appeared to be a death sentence for COVID-19 patients, with mortality rates as high as 97%. An encouraging study published online May 26 in Critical Care Medicine of COVID-19 patients in critical care units at Emory Healthcare found a much lower death rate, about 30%. The researchers note the pandemic arrived later in Georgia than in other regions, giving the medical system time to prepare. All patients in the study cohort were cared for by experienced critical care teams in well-equipped preexisting ICUs, in contrast to places hit early in the pandemic, where the number of critically ill patients quickly overwhelmed critical care systems. According to the authors, "These results suggest that most patients with acute respiratory failure from COVID-19 may recover, even with severe disease requiring intubation and mechanical ventilation."