So, the third wave is officially no more. New modelling by SPI-M, the government’s committee on modelling for pandemics, has, at a stroke, eradicated the predicted surge in new infections, hospital admissions and deaths which it had pencilled in for the autumn or winter as a result of lockdown being eased.
…As Philip Thomas explained here on Sunday, Imperial College has also assumed strangely low estimates for the number of people in Britain carrying antibodies. If you are going to use assumptions that are far more pessimistic than real world data suggests, it is small wonder that SPI-M keeps predicting waves and surges that turn out to be wide of the mark. The question is: why are these modelling teams using such negative assumptions?
Back in November, Nick Stokes emailed the Planet Normal podcast to protest that the NHS was being turned into the “National Covid Service”, and misinformation was being spread about hospitals being overwhelmed. “If there is a shortage of beds, that happens every single year – it is not due to Covid! I can remember several years of black alerts, ambulances unable to unload etc due to flu cases, but I don’t remember everything else being cancelled or people being told to stay at home.”
How do I know that Britain’s Covid crisis is over? The fakers are back. The hypochondriacs, the psychosomatics, the pseudo-fitters, the attention-seekers and the lonely. They’ve started to return to the acute medical ward where I work. They’ve been gone so long I actually almost missed them.
- Only three of England’s seven Nightingale hospitals have ever been used to treat Covid patients.
- Cost to the taxpayer is more than £500m to set-up and keep on standby.
- Four of the Nightingales have never treated people with Covid-19.
- Only two of the hospitals have been used to treat Covid patients in during the second wave.
- Nightingales totalled up to £1.27m per inpatient as of January 2021.
- Only 272 inpatients were treated at the Nightingales up until January 2021.
- Nightingale Birmingham, which was the most expensive to set-up at a contracted budget of £109million – has never been used at all.
- Each Nightingale building cost between £409,000 and £1.2m a month to keep on standby.
- The bill to set up the hospitals was £346m, according to contracts awarded by the government to NHS trusts.
- NHS England has forecast total costs will run to £532m for the financial years 2019-21.
- At least £850,000 was also spent with consultancy firms on the construction of the Nightingales.
The NHS’s London regional team has told its integrated care systems to draw up plans for ‘another possible [covid-19] surge later in 2021’, HSJ has learned.
But then Ministers discarded a decade of planning in a few hours and embarked on a sinister and untried experiment with the lives of millions. They ordered a national lockdown which was both coercive and indiscriminate.
That decision, I believe, was nothing to do with the science. They were panicked to act by seeing recently ordered lockdowns in Italy, France and Spain, following the lead of totalitarian China. Ministers seemed convinced that the public would blame them if they failed to do what other nations were doing.
When announcing the national lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the NHS risked being overwhelmed if the measures weren’t taken.
But statistics suggest that the proportion of beds currently occupied by patients is actually lower than usual.
So how can both things be true?
…To create that wiggle room, there has been a big decrease in patients coming in for non-urgent operations and outpatient appointments, to ensure that space is there and pressures are not increased.
Even in September 2020, when hospitals were beginning to increase the number of operations carried out, these were still 25% lower than in previous years.
This also helps explain why there are also fewer patients in hospitals this year, as well as fewer beds.
The impact of this is a large backlog and the potential for certain treatments – such as cancer care – being delayed.
HOSPITALS had almost fifteen percent fewer patients this December compared with 2019, despite the Covid crisis.
But they are being ovewhelmed by the surge in infections because of a lack of beds and staff, experts said.A freedom of information request to NHS England revealed that on December 22, three days after Boris Johnson introduced tier four for millions, more than 13,000 fewer beds were occupied than the same date in 2019.
The new data suggests a key reason hospitals are struggling is this lack of capacity.
Nightingale hospitals built during the first Covid-19 lockdown still remain ‘on standby’ despite parts of England being plunged under draconian Tier 4 measures.
It has been suggested the hospitals are largely deserted, despite Boris Johnson’s dramatic decision to plunge a third of those in England under tough Tier 4 measures from Sunday.
There are approximately 30,000 student-nurse places in the UK each year, which, given nursing is a three-year course, means there are about 90,000 student nurses in total (notwithstanding dropouts). Moreover, there are 84 university nursing departments throughout the UK, each with a body of nursing professors, senior lecturers and lecturers, many of whom will be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (although they are not required to work clinically to maintain registration). In this emergency pandemic, it would seem quite rational for these students and teaching staff to be deployed by government to staff the Nightingale Hospitals.
- Intensive care ward occupancy down to 75% from 84% this time last year
- Hospitals across country declaring incidents as they struggle to cope
- But wards are less busy too – 89% full compared to 95% in December 2019
- NHS warns of invisible pressures unique to Covid, such as ward segregation
NHS data still shows hospitals to be quieter than they were this time last year even as coronavirus’s second wave bites and the number of Covid patients approaches levels seen in the crisis’s peak in April.
When children and teens are overwhelmed with anxiety, depression or thoughts of self-harm, they often wait days in emergency rooms because there aren’t enough psychiatric beds.
The problem has only grown worse during the pandemic, reports from parents and professionals suggest.
With schools closed, routines disrupted and parents anxious over lost income or uncertain futures, children are shouldering new burdens many are unequipped to bear.
A quick glance at the latest data on hospital beds shows there were nearly 13,000 beds free at the end of November.
That’s 50% more than last winter.
- Two-thirds of the private sector capacity that was block-purchased by NHS England was left unused over the summer
- Unprecedented block contracts in place for almost all the private hospital capacity, thought to be worth around £400m per month
- Comes as waiting times for elective care and diagnostic tests have steeply increased
- Capacity to carry out chemotherapy treatment was among that not fully used
- Insiders blame confusion and communication over contracts, and some argue the contracts were not needed
YouTube has removed interview so we have archived the video in the above location. It is currently available on Unlocked Facebook page:
- Despite the fearmongering, the number of Covid-19 deaths is significantly lower than the peak back in April
- Latest ONS estimate shows that in the week ending November 14, new infections were already levelling off
- GCHQ has embedded a team in Downing Street to provide Boris Johnson with real-time updates of Covid-19
- Analysts will sift through vast amounts of data to ensure Boris Johnson has the most up-to-date information
The Imperial model had larger errors, about 5-fold higher than other models by six weeks. This appears to be largely driven by the aforementioned tendency to overestimate mortality. At twelve weeks, MAPE values were lowest for the IHME-MS-SEIR (23.7%) model, while the Imperial model had the most elevated MAPE (98.8%). Predictive performance between models was generally similar for median absolute errors (MAEs)