Covid ICU admissions in Israel hit record levels this week, reaching 130.5 per million on January 26th 2022, topping a previous peak of 127.1 per million on January 19th 2021. Why is this, when Omicron is milder and most of the country is now vaccinated whereas last winter almost none of it was?
At the previous peak only 6% of the country were double-vaccinated. Now 65% are, plus 46% are triple-vaccinated and around 8% are quadruple vaccinated. Israel was also first out the block with its booster campaigns. If the purpose of the vaccination programme was to relieve pressure on the health service – and recall it was supposed to be a two-dose vaccine, not three or four doses – it’s hard to see how it has helped much.
Having said that, the number of patients in ICU is still only around two thirds of the peak level, suggesting the stays may be shorter.
Also, deaths are currently less than half the peak – though as Dr. Noah Carl points out, this is higher than you would expect from 95% effective vaccines.
It’s also noteworthy that Israel has not seen any obvious reduction in all-cause mortality since the vaccines were rolled out.
It’s not just Israel. Highly vaccinated U.S. states in the North, West and East are also seeing record Covid hospital admissions.
True, many of these will be incidental admissions. But deaths are also high in many of those states.
Taken together, the picture is not exactly what those who saw vaccines as the solution to the pandemic will have expected. There is also the outstanding question of why non-Covid excess mortality in Europe and elsewhere has been so high since the summer.
Further investigation is needed.