Categories
Opinion

Is the NHS at risk of being overwhelmed by Covid? – The Spectator

Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, has gone back to Plan A, reviving his ‘protect the NHS’ message from March and now wears a facemask with those words on it. The Prime Minister is repeating the slogan. It’s  deeply controversial with senior doctors who fear that it discourages the sick from seeking help – which might explain the 28,000 excess at-home deaths over the last few months. The NHS is worried about this and has countered with its own advert, urging people to seek medical help. I looked at this in my latest Daily Telegraph column.

The NHS has learned much from the first wave of Covid. PPE equipment, for example, is now in bountiful supply. Basic medical techniques – better use of blood thinners, oxygen therapy, steroids etc – are having a big impact on survival rates. When Boris Johnson went into intensive care, his survival chances were about 50 per cent. Now, they would be closer to 70 per cent. The trajectory this time is nowhere near as daunting – the below graph shows the rise of Covid patients needing critical care. As the data shows, intensive care unit (ICU) usage is 13 per cent of what it was at the end of March. (These figures are from the Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre.)

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/how-likely-is-the-nhs-to-be-overwhelmed-by-covid-

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News

Don’t believe the scare stories about hospitals running out of ICU beds – The Telegraph

Even in Manchester, hospitals are faring far better than the headline statistics suggest

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/10/20/dont-believe-scare-stories-hospitals-running-icu-beds/

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Opinion

Why I’m resigning from the government – Chris Green MP, The Spectator

The Greater Manchester ‘local lockdown’ and the more extreme economic lockdowns have both failed to control the number of positive tests within the Borough of Bolton, which has inexorably risen.

During the lockdown, Bolton has seen 20,000 fewer GP referrals to hospital when compared to last year, while many others have not accessed vital treatment because they have been too frightened to do so. By taking our current approach to Covid-19, we are creating many other health problems that are leading to pain, suffering and death. 

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/why-i-m-resigning-from-the-government

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News

Rise in Britons being treated with Covid in hospital is partly driven by them catching it on wards, figures show – The Mail On Sunday

  • Hospital cases rose from 2,396 to 3,660 between September 30 and October 7.
  • Almost one in five in hospital tested positive seven days or more after admission.
  • This implies that they caught coronavirus whilst a patient there.
  • The findings suggest Covid-19 hospitalisations caused by community outbreaks may not be growing as fast as some fear. 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8827131/Rise-Britons-treated-Covid-hospital-partly-driven-catching-wards.html

Categories
Publications

Global perspective of COVID‐19 epidemiology for a full‐cycle pandemic – Prof. John Ioannidis, Wiley Online Library

  • As of October 2020, there are >1 million documented deaths with COVID‐19.
  • Many early deaths may have been due to suboptimal management, malfunctional health systems, hydroxychloroquine, sending COVID‐19 patients to nursing homes, and nosocomial infections; such deaths are partially avoidable moving forward.
  • About 10% of the global population may be infected by October 2020.
  • Global infection fatality rate is 0.15‐0.20%
  • Global infection fatality rate in those younger than 70 years old is 0.03‐0.04%.
  • Targeted, precise management of the pandemic and avoiding past mistakes would help minimize mortality.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eci.13423

Categories
Opinion

An epidemic of failure: Test and Trace that doesn’t work, local lockdowns that don’t make sense, flu deaths counted as Covid-19… and an economy on the brink. We somehow made a crisis worse – Dr. John Lee, Daily Mail

  • The UK Government’s Test and Trace policy isn’t working and is worse than useless.
  • 40 per cent of those asked to name their recent contacts were unable to remember anyone.
  • The tests on which Test and Trace is based are highly unreliable.
  • Covid is a coronavirus and its symptoms are vague: a cough, a raised temperature, the loss of taste and smell — all of which overlap with the symptoms for flu and the common cold.
  • When the procedure goes wrong, it generates a ‘false positive’ result: it indicates an infection where none exists.
  • Even with long-established tests, we’d expect to see false positives in perhaps one per cent of cases. With this one, it could quite conceivably be 5 per cent or higher.
  • This means that if 300,000 tests are processed in a day, perhaps 15,000 or more will generate inaccurate reports of Covid-19 infection.
  • One positive is not necessarily the same as another, but the Government numbers don’t differentiate.
  • Last week, it was reported that just 1,800 out of 110,000 occupied beds in hospitals were taken up by Covid-19 patients.
  • It is likely that those who died were elderly and suffering from co-morbidities such as heart disease and diabetes.
  • But it is also possible that they died from something else entirely — such as flu.
  • The UK Government’s Test and Trace policy isn’t working and is worse than useless.
  • 40 per cent of those asked to name their recent contacts were unable to remember anyone.
  • The tests on which Test and Trace is based are highly unreliable.
  • Covid is a coronavirus and its symptoms are vague: a cough, a raised temperature, the loss of taste and smell — all of which overlap with the symptoms for flu and the common cold.
  • When the procedure goes wrong, it generates a ‘false positive’ result: it indicates an infection where none exists.
  • Even with long-established tests, we’d expect to see false positives in perhaps one per cent of cases. With this one, it could quite conceivably be 5 per cent or higher.
  • This means that if 300,000 tests are processed in a day, perhaps 15,000 or more will generate inaccurate reports of Covid-19 infection.
  • One positive is not necessarily the same as another, but the Government numbers don’t differentiate.
  • Last week, it was reported that just 1,800 out of 110,000 occupied beds in hospitals were taken up by Covid-19 patients.
  • It is likely that those who died were elderly and suffering from co-morbidities such as heart disease and diabetes.
  • But it is also possible that they died from something else entirely — such as flu.
  • Coronaviruses are as old as humanity and have resisted every attempt at a vaccine or a cure. One project to wipe out the common cold was funded for more than 40 years — and got nowhere.
  • Today’s flu vaccines are less than 50 per cent effective, and there is no chance whatever that a hurriedly developed Covid-19 vaccine could be anything like as good as that.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8808609/DR-JOHN-LEE-Test-Trace-doesnt-work-local-lockdowns-dont-make-sense.html

Categories
News

Lockdown ‘could kill 75,000 over five years’ – that’s the OFFICIAL projection of non-COVID deaths – Daily Mail

  • 75,000 people could die from non-Covid causes as a result of lockdown to devastating official figures in a 188-page document from SAGE.
  • 16,000 people died as a result of the chaos in hospitals and care homes in March and April alone.
  • A further 26,000 will die within a year if people continue to stay away from A&E.
  • An additional 31,900 could die over the next five years as a result of missed cancer diagnoses, cancelled operations and the health impacts of a recession.
  • Official COVID-19 death toll on 29 September 2020 is 41,936.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8785415/Just-1-800-110-000-occupied-hospital-beds-currently-taken-Covid-19-patients.html

Categories
News

How close is the NHS to being ‘overwhelmed’? Just 1,800 out of 110,000 occupied beds are taken up by Covid-19 patients as thousands more than normal die at home of other causes – Daily Mail

Covid-19 patients are currently occupying fewer than 2 per cent of all hospital beds in England, official data suggests.

The most NHS recent snapshot — released three weeks ago — shows just 478 out of 110,000 beds in use were by Covid-19 patients on September 3.

…Even at the peak of the crisis in Britain, only a quarter of all beds were occupied by virus patients. On April 7, 26.5 per cent of the 67,206 people in England’s hospitals were being treated for coronavirus — the highest proportion on record.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8785415/Just-1-800-110-000-occupied-hospital-beds-currently-taken-Covid-19-patients.html

Categories
Opinion

Quantifying the cost of lockdown – The Spectator

We have had plenty of anecdotes about people failing to be diagnosed with serious diseases during lockdown. This is thanks to either to hospitals cancelling appointments, GP surgeries stopping face-to-face meetings or people picking up the message that they should protect the NHS by trying not to use it. 

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/quantifying-the-cost-of-lockdown

Categories
News

Councils pay care homes DOUBLE the local weekly fee to take Covid hospital patients amid fears deadly mistakes made at the start of the pandemic will be repeated – Daily Mail

Care home chiefs fear deadly mistakes made at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic risk being repeated as councils offer them extra cash to take Covid-positive hospital patients.

…Now, despite a Government pledge to place a ‘protective ring’ around vulnerable residents, care homes in Cumbria are being offered £1,500 – double the local weekly fee – to take Covid-positive patients from hospital.

…Tony Carling, a care home operator in Cumbria, has decided not to take Covid-positive patients, but fears it could be a costly move. He said: ‘The majority of our clients are funded by local authorities, so it’s very difficult to turn down. You are under extreme financial pressure as to whether you get further business from that authority if you don’t support their needs.’

Categories
Publications

Diagnosis of physical and mental health conditions in primary care during the COVID-19 pandemic: a retrospective cohort study – The Lancet

Our study shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a large number of potentially missed or delayed diagnoses of health conditions, which carry high risk if not promptly diagnosed and effectively treated. Primary and secondary care services must proactively prepare to address the large backlog of patients that is likely to follow. Should a public health emergency on the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic occur in the future, or if subsequent surges in COVID-19 cases arise, national communication strategies must be carefully considered to ensure that large numbers of patients with urgent health needs do not disengage with health services.

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-2667(20)30201-2/fulltext#

Categories
Opinion

Covid-19: Does Sweden have herd immunity? – Sebastian Rushworth M.D.

  • Sweden never went in to full lockdown. Instead, the country imposed a partial lockdown that was almost entirely voluntary.
  • The only forcible restriction imposed by the government from the start was a requirement that people not gather in groups of more than 50 at a time.
  • People followed the voluntary restrictions pretty well at the beginning, but that they have become increasingly lax as time has gone on.
  • After an initial peak that lasted for a month or so, from March to April, visits to the Emergency Room due to covid had been declining continuously, and deaths in Sweden had dropped from over 100 a day at the peak in April, to around five per day in August.
  • Dr. Rushworth hasn’t seen a single covid patient in the Emergency Room in over two and a half months.
  • COVID has killed under 6,000 people.
  • On average, one to two people per day are dying of covid in Sweden at present, and that number continues to drop.
  • In the whole of Stockholm, a county with 2,4 million inhabitants, there are currently only 28 people being treated for covid in all the hospitals combined.
  • Sweden seemed to be developing herd immunity, in spite of the fact that only a minority had antibodies, was due to T-cells.
  • Immunity may be long lasting, and probably explains why there have only been a handful of reported cases of re-infection with covid, even though the virus has spent the last nine months bouncing around the planet infecting many millions of people.
  • Almost all cases of reinfection have been completely asymptomatic.
  • People develop a functioning immunity after the first infection, which allows them to fight off the second infection without ever developing any symptoms.
  •  England and Italy have mortality curves that are very similar to Sweden’s.
  • Lockdown only makes sense if you are willing to stay in lockdown until there is an effective vaccine.

https://sebastianrushworth.com/2020/09/19/covid-19-does-sweden-have-herd-immunity/

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Opinion

This second wave of coronavirus is simply not as deadly… if we panic, so many more lives will be lost, says PROFESSOR KAROL SIKORA – Daily Mail

Britain is now in grave danger of sleepwalking into a second national lockdown. The consequences of doing so would be disastrous.

We find ourselves in this wretched position partly because the Government’s main achievement since the pandemic first emerged in China has not been suppressing the virus or saving lives or the economy, but in spreading irrational fear.

  • A blanket lockdown is the last thing we should be contemplating if we are serious about the nation’s mental and physical well-being.
  • This second wave will not trigger the explosion in deaths we saw in the spring.
  • Not a single young child has died in the UK from Covid without some other serious pre-existing condition.
  • According to Cambridge statistician Sir David Spiegelhalter, anyone under 50 is more likely to die in a car crash than from the virus.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8748883/This-second-wave-coronavirus-simply-not-deadly-says-PROFESSOR-KAROL-SIKORA.html

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News

How Bolton only has TWO Covid-19 patients in hospital despite being England’s locked-down virus hotspot – and there are 141 people on wards across all 18 ‘intervention’ areas – Daily Mail

Public Health England has listed 18 areas of intervention with stricter rules

They had only a combined 141 people in hospital as of September 3, NHS shows

One person in hospital for every 38,000 in a population of over 5.4million 

Despite an infection rate of more than 120 cases per 100,000 people and local lockdown rules preventing people from meeting anyone they don’t live with, fears about the virus spreading translate to only two people in hospital.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8744625/How-locked-Bolton-TWO-Covid-19-patients-hospital.html

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News Opinion

The cure is worse than the disease: Dr JOHN LEE argues that the coronavirus lockdown could cause more long-term harm than the illness itself – Daily Mail

  • The NHS has not resumed anything like normal service. But the predicted Covid deluge never materialised.
  • Current Covid death toll of 41,628 is barely half the total fatalities of the 1968 flu epidemic in the UK. 
  • Hospital admissions for cancer were down by 36 per cent in April and another 37 per cent in May.
  • The State has wildly over-reacted, partly as a result of being in thrall to scientists such as Professor Neil Ferguson with unproven theories and dubious modelling.
  • More than 1,600 people die in Britain every day, yet, despite the Government’s scaremongering, the coronavirus daily death toll has been in single or low double figures for weeks.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8728845/Dr-JOHN-LEE-argues-coronavirus-lockdown-cause-long-term-harm-illness-itself.html

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Publications

Community and Close Contact Exposures Associated with COVID-19 Among Symptomatic Adults ≥18 Years in 11 Outpatient Health Care Facilities — United States, July 2020 – CDC

“In the 14 days before illness onset, 71% of case-patients and 74% of control participants reported always using cloth face coverings or other mask types when in public.” 

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/pdfs/mm6936a5-H.pdf

Categories
Opinion

Did protecting the NHS actually cost lives? – The Telegraph

The British public protected the NHS alright. Any fears that the institution might be overwhelmed were put aside when, a couple of weeks into lockdown, the hurriedly-constructed Nightingale hospitals were still empty, along with many other hospital wards, clinics and surgeries. By mid April, routine clinical activity by GPs was down 25 per cent and A&E visits down 52 per cent. Some of that was thanks to fewer drunks falling over and fewer children coming to grief in playgrounds, yet there is plenty to suggest that some very unwell people were scared into taking the instruction not to trouble the.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/08/27/did-protecting-nhs-actually-cost-lives/

Categories
News

NHS data shows 15m on ‘hidden waiting list’ – The Times

The NHS has a “hidden waiting list” of 15.3 million patients who need follow-up appointments for health problems, according to the first analysis of its kind.

The official waiting list, which stands at 3.9 million, shows how many patients are yet to have their first hospital appointment after a GP referral.

However, the total number who are on hospital books in England and need appointments is not collated centrally. A new calculation, based on freedom of information requests to NHS trusts and seen by The Times, puts the figure at 15.3 million.

Although the official waiting list, after initial referral by a GP, has remained at a fairly stable level throughout the pandemic, this has been mainly driven by fewer patients joining it.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/coronavirus-nhs-data-shows-15m-on-hidden-waiting-list-w250vxvz6

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News

Cancer care backlog may cost 30,000 lives, Boris Johnson told – The Times

Scores of MPs and former ministers have urged the prime minister to tackle a backlog in NHS cancer care that threatens to lead to thousands of early deaths over the next decade.

One senior oncologist has claimed that in a worst-case scenario the effects of the pandemic could result in 30,000 excess cancer deaths over the next decade.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/cancer-care-backlog-may-cost-30-000-lives-boris-johnson-told-2ttvw330l

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News

My hospital has become a medical Mary Celeste: As NHS waiting lists rocket while appointments are limited, one doctor tells of his frustration – Daily Mail

Normally, our joint waiting rooms are bustling — with around 100 patients at any one time waiting to see doctors, nurses, or a phlebotomist to take blood. Now there are no patients and just a handful of staff.

There have been just a few patients with Covid in the hospital in the last few weeks, compared with 20 in intensive care and 100 on the wards at the peak of the pandemic.

But we are at a near standstill when it comes to seeing outpatients on site. Much to my frustration, only one of my six NHS rheumatology clinics is conducted face-to-face each week. It is still deemed too risky for patients to attend hospital.

There doesn’t seem to be a master plan or encouragement from the Department of Health to get clinics up and running again — this is needed urgently

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-8636343/As-NHS-waiting-lists-rocket-appointments-limited-one-doctor-tells-frustration.html