Since the arrival of the Omicron variant, the Scottish Government has refused to release any data about how many Covid patients have been admitted to hospital because of the virus, as opposed to those who have been hospitalised primarily due to other ailments, with SNP Health Secretary Humza Yousaf unable to provide any accurate information. Nevertheless, Yousaf still implied that the confirmed total number of Covid hospitalisations includes those who have tested positive for the virus but were admitted to hospital due to another ailment and are being treated for that, not Covid. The revelation has led Tory MSP Murdo Fraser, Chairman of the Scottish Covid Recovery Group, to accuse the SNP of bringing in draconian restrictions which aren’t justified by the facts. The Telegraph has more.
Humza Yousaf was unable to say on Thursday how many patients on wards included in official figures were in hospital primarily because they were suffering from Covid, and how many were admitted for other conditions and only tested positive only after routine testing.
He claimed advice from Gregor Smith, Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, was that the “majority” of people recorded as Covid patients were in hospital “due to Covid”, raising the prospect that hundreds of the 810 people classed as virus patients on Thursday were actually admitted for unrelated ailments.
Murdo Fraser, the Covid recovery spokesman for the Scottish Tories, said he was “not convinced” that new curbs, such as the forced closure of nightclubs, the banning of mass events and restrictions on hospitality businesses, were based on sound data.
Data from hospitals in England suggests that around a third of hospital patients officially counted as Covid cases are so-called “incidental” admissions, meaning they may have been admitted for conditions such as broken bones and then tested positive. In London, data suggests the figure is around 50%.
Studies have also shown that the omicron variant, which now makes up around 80% of cases in Scotland, results in far less serious illness than previous strains.
However, the SNP Government has so far refused to release figures showing the proportion of people classed as Covid hospital patients who were admitted primarily because of the virus, since the Omicron variant emerged.
“South of the border the data would seem to suggest that it’s only a minority who are in hospital because of Covid,” Fraser said.
“What’s really concerning is the [Scottish] Government either don’t have the data, which is really worrying as they’re taking decisions without this information, or are not prepared to share it with the public or with parliament.
“The data would be able to inform the public as to whether the choices currently being made by the Scottish Government, which are restricting people’s liberty and having a major impact on businesses, are justifiable.”
He added: “We need to ensure that the decisions that are being made, which are affecting people’s liberty and having a major impact on business, are being underpinned by evidence, and I’m not convinced that’s the case.”
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