‘Dramatically different’: RI doctor reflects on pandemic as hospitalizations dwindle


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — When it comes to treating patients with COVID-19, few have had as much experience in Rhode Island as Dr. Mitchell Levy.

Levy, who is the director of critical care medicine at Lifespan, said it was hard to watch patients both young and old succumb to the virus.

“We were seeing tragedy day by day,” Levy recalled. “Getting better, getting worse, getting better, getting worse and that’s extraordinarily difficult, especially when it’s people in their 30s and 40s.”

The R.I. Department of Health reported Thursday that in total, there are 19 COVID patients being treated in the state’s hospitals, three of which are in the intensive care unit and four are on ventilators.

It’s exciting news for everyone who’s been working on the frontlines of the pandemic for more than a year, including Levy.

“The atmosphere is dramatically different,” Levy said, adding that doctors and nurses are much more comfortable treating COVID patients now than they were when the pandemic first started.

He attributes that confidence boost to the high vaccination rates among health care workers.

It’s not just health care workers though, Rhode Island recently became the fifth state to reach 70% of adults fully vaccinated.

“The people that we’re seeing in the hospital, as few as they are, are all unvaccinated,” Levy said.

Levy said he’s not worried about the Delta variant and its impact on Rhode Island because the vaccine has been successful in preventing serious illness in those who test positive.

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