Hospitalisations

Vaccinated Hospitalised for Non-Covid Reasons at FIVE Times the Rate of the Unvaccinated, U.K. Government Data Show

Over the past 15 months we’ve had a barrage of statistics presented to us shouting about how great the vaccines are at preventing hospitalisation from (or with) Covid. However, these statistics have been light on detail on how they were calculated and we’ve not seen much sight at all of the raw data that the statistics were based upon.

Until now. In April, a paper was published by the UKHSA (currently in pre-print, which means that it hasn’t yet undergone the usual peer-review process) on its statistical analysis of a selection of hospitalisation data by vaccination status. The intent of this paper was to support its statements that the vaccines prevent hospitalisation. However, the paper also includes the raw data upon which the UKHSA statistics were derived, and these data tell a very different story to that presented by the UKHSA. The data show:

  • Far higher accident and emergency admission rates for reasons other than Covid in the vaccinated than in the unvaccinated.
  • Much higher rates of hospitalisation due to non-Covid acute respiratory illness in the vaccinated.
  • Even higher A&E admissions and hospitalisations in the double-vaccinated (not boosted).
  • Even where the data suggest that the vaccines offer some protection (the risk of admission to intensive care resulting from Covid infection) the results look like they might be an artefact created by the assumptions used by the UKHSA.

Lockdown Backlog: NHS Waiting List Hits New High of 6.2 Million as Stroke and Heart Attack Victims Wait Over an Hour for Ambulance

The number of patients waiting for routine hospital treatment in England has soared to a new record of 6.18 million, as ambulance and emergency department waits also reach all-time highs. MailOnline has the story.

NHS data show one in nine people were in the queue, often in pain, for elective operations such as hip and knee replacements and cataracts surgery by February – up from 6.1 million in January. 

Separate data show A&E performance plummeted to its worst ever level in March, with a record 22,506 people waiting 12 hours to be treated, three times longer than the NHS target. Just seven in 10 patients in casualty units were seen within the four-hour threshold, marking the worst performance yet.

Ambulance figures reveal heart attack and stroke patients were left waiting for more than an hour for paramedics to arrive on average – another record.

Health bosses argue the NHS has faced its busiest ever winter and a slight drop among the longest waiters show it is tackling the backlog.  

NHS leaders said the health service needs more cash to fill its 110,000 vacancies and ongoing problems in social care, despite receiving a record £136.1 billion this year to help it recover from Covid.

Ministers announced an elective recovery plan earlier this year, setting out how waiting lists will finally start to fall from March 2024, while two-year waits would be scrapped by the summer. But experts today warned “it is hard to imagine an end in sight, with lengthy waits for healthcare firmly here to stay”.

It comes as doctors today say record-high Covid infection are leading to operations being cancelled across England, despite daily admissions and the number of infected patients in hospital trending downwards. 

How can this winter have been the “busiest ever” when excess deaths were trending below average throughout. Surely last winter, with the Alpha Covid wave in full swing, was much busier. Hard to sort the truth from the exaggeration in the messages coming out from the health service, particularly with health bosses lobbying for the return of restrictions.

Have they forgotten it’s the restrictions that got us into this mess, by telling people to stay at home when they’re ill, cancelling operations ‘because Covid’ and storing up the mother of all backlogs?

Worth reading in full.

Vaccinated Have Up To SIX Times the Infection Rate of Unvaccinated, New Zealand Government Data Show

New Zealand is a fascinating country – amazing geography, likeable population, and, unlike its neighbour Australia, most of its wildlife isn’t planning on killing you at the slightest opportunity. It is also fascinating with respect to Covid because its population has a very high vaccination rate across all age groups (well, down to five), but up until recently there has been negligible natural immunity to Covid. Because of these two factors, New Zealand was always going to be of interest as soon as Covid arrived properly, if only to see how its vaccination efforts had protected its population.

For those who missed it, since the end of last year New Zealand has had a succession of Covid waves. These started small, but in the most recent wave, taking place during February and March, infection rates were enormous – if we had these infection rates in the U.K. we’d have peaked at approximately 350,000 cases per day (rather than around 200,000). What’s more, it looks like New Zealand exceeded its testing capacity during that wave, suggesting that peak infections were probably even higher.  It is relevant to note that during February and March, New Zealand had over 90% of all the cases it has ever had and most of the rest occurred in January – prior to 2022 New Zealand reported very few Covid infections.

So much for the Covid vaccines protecting against infection – but what do the data look like in detail?

Millions of Patients told “Don’t Go to A&E Unless You’re Dying”

Millions of patients were urged Wednesday not to go to A&E unless they are dying after six trusts warned of waits of up to 12 hours in emergency departments. MailOnline has more.

Trusts across Yorkshire claimed the pressures have left them with no choice but to prioritise patients in “genuine, life-threatening situations”.

West Yorkshire Association of Acute Trusts, which covers 2.5million people, said its casualty units were “extremely busy”. Figures show there has been a “sharp uplift” in patients attending over A&E over the past fortnight, with the total number of visits up 14% on the same time last year. 

Meanwhile, in another sign of the constant pressure NHS medics are facing, South Central Ambulance Service – one of the largest trusts of its kind in the U.K. – declared a critical incident this morning, telling patients to make their own way to hospital unless their injuries or illnesses are not serious.

The service, which covers seven million residents across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Sussex and Surrey, asked the community to only call 999 in an emergency. 

Their warnings came as millions of Britons started paying more national insurance from today, with Boris Johnson insisting the 1.25% hike is ‘necessary’ to bail out the NHS and social care in the wake of the pandemic. The Prime Minister insisted it was the “right thing for the NHS”, which has seen waiting lists spiral to a record high after hospitals were forced to cancel thousands of operations during the pandemic.

Ministers insist the tax rise, tagged the Health and Social Care Levy, is needed to help tackle Covid backlogs and reform the adult social care system – raising £39 billion over the next three years. 

But health chiefs warned the service is already behind schedule in its routine care recovery plan because of rising numbers of Covid patients. More than 16,500 hospital beds are currently occupied by infected people in England, similar to levels seen during the worst part of the Omicron wave in January.

Chris Hopson, head of NHS Providers, said the rising rates – which appear to have finally slowed down – coupled with staff absences “mean that we’re not going as fast as we would like on backlog recovery”.

UKHSA Publishes Final Vaccine Data Report – as Vaccine Effectiveness Against Hospitalisation in Over-80s Heads to Zero

They say 13 is unlucky for some – well, it looks like that’s true for anyone wanting to investigate the impact of the Covid vaccines on infections, hospitalisations and deaths as, true to its word, this week, week 13, sees the last Vaccine Surveillance Report issued by the UKHSA to include these data.

From April 1st 2022, the U.K. Government will no longer provide free universal COVID-19 testing for the general public in England, as set out in the plan for living with COVID-19. Such changes in testing policies affect the ability to robustly monitor COVID-19 cases by vaccination status, therefore, from the week 14 report onwards this section of the report will no longer be published. Updates to vaccine effectiveness data will continue to be published elsewhere in this report.

The point about testing is somewhat valid, of course – the problem is that this change won’t affect hospitalisations and deaths data, and they could replace at least some of the infections data with the results that come from the (continued) testing of healthcare workers. This comes at a time with record-breaking infection levels in the U.K., as identified by sources including the ONS and the Zoe Symptom Tracker. These record case levels have been reported in the media, such as in the Guardian and the BBC; I find it odd that these reports blame the virus and our relaxation of restrictions for the record case levels – they don’t even mention the possibility that it is the vaccines that are causing this problem. Twelve months ago there were plenty of experts suggesting that mass vaccination could result in what had been seen in prior candidate vaccines for coronaviruses – an initial few months of protection followed by an increase in susceptibility to disease – but the existence of these warnings continues to be ignored.  On the other hand, the promises that these vaccines were ‘safe and effective’ continue to be believed, despite vast amounts of evidence suggesting the opposite (they’ve certainly not worked to get us to ‘Zero Covid’).

The Queen is Owed an Apology – Infections Are 36 TIMES Higher Than at Time of Funeral When Monarch Sat Alone

There follows a guest post by Daily Sceptic reader Nick Rendell, who is struck by the massive difference in reported infection rates between now and April 2021, and says the Queen is owed an apology.

What a difference a year makes. The sight of the Queen sitting alone in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle was one of the most poignant images of the pandemic. The things we had to do to keep ourselves and others safe. Only 30 mourners were allowed, everyone was masked. Never has the Queen looked so alone.

Contrast this with today’s memorial service at Westminster Abbey, packed out, no social distancing, not a mask in sight.

But that’s perfectly understandable, you might say. At the time of the funeral there was a pandemic raging whereas now infections, hospitalisations and deaths have massively abated. But is that actually the case?

I thought I’d check out the current rates and those prevailing on the date of Prince Philip’s funeral. The results surprised me. I wonder if the Queen will be told.

Currently, the Government dashboard shows around 86,000 infection reported each day (taking the most recent seven-day average on March 21st), 36 times higher than the 2,400 or so reported on April 17th 2021. The hospitalisation numbers are 14 times higher and the fatality numbers are seven times higher.

Vaccine Effectiveness Heads Towards Minus-400% as Death Rate Among Vaccinated Approaches Same as Unvaccinated, UKHSA Data Show

The clock might be ticking down to the final UKHSA Vaccine Surveillance report that includes data by vaccination status, but at least this week there are more data to explore.

Cases

Anyone managing to avoid the 24/7 coverage of the disaster in Ukraine might have had the opportunity to be told about the ‘disaster’ that is the ever increasing number of Covid cases in the country. The UKHSA data are a week or so behind the times, but nevertheless they are now showing a substantial increase in cases compared with last week’s release (details of methodology and limitations can be found here).

A comparison with last week’s data shows that in the 18-80 age range cases are up about 30% in the triple vaccinated, whereas they’re only up approximately 15% in the unvaccinated and those vaccinated with only one or two doses. Thus it appears that this is a Covid wave of the boosted. This trend is most visible in the rate of change of case rate over the last few weeks (data shown for those aged 40-80 only).

Omicron BA.2 is Even Milder Than Omicron BA.1, UKHSA Data Show

The latest U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA) Technical Briefing on variants of concern reports that the Omicron BA.2 variant, which is now dominant in the U.K. and in many countries around the world, is even milder than the original Omicron BA.1 variant, which was responsible for the very low death toll this winter.

The report states:

Analyses of sequenced cases up to March 8th 2022 have been undertaken to compare the risk of hospitalisation, as defined by admission as an inpatient, or presentation to emergency care that resulted in admission, transfer or death, following BA.2 compared to BA.1. This analysis adjusted for age, reinfection status, sex, ethnicity, local area deprivation and vaccination status. It also controlled for the effect of geography and specimen date. The risk of hospitalisation does not appear to be higher following a BA.2 infection than following a BA.1 infection (hazard ratio 0.94 95% CI: 0.88-1.00).

The hazard ratio of 0.94 means BA.2 comes with 6% lower risk of hospitalisation compared to BA.1. The 95% confidence interval (CI) of 0.88-1.00 means the researchers are 95% sure the variant is not a higher risk than BA.1, and it may be up to 12% lower. These figures are adjusted for confounders such as age and vaccination status, and also geography for some reason. Admittedly, it’s not a big drop, but it’s in the right direction, and it means up to 12% fewer people may be hospitalised in the current surge, which is a good thing.

Vaccine Effectiveness Hits as Low as Minus 300% – as UKHSA Announces it Will No Longer Publish the Data

It is said that people can only worry about one thing at a time; if so, then I’m sure that few people are currently worrying about the recent increase in Covid cases in the U.K. This is a good thing – the hospitalisation and mortality rates of Omicron appear to be significantly lower than those of previous variants, so it’s surely time to just accept Covid as another type of cold that’ll give us all an annoying sniffle every couple of years.  

But the sticky problem of the vaccines remains. Do they work or have they made things worse? Luckily, the UKHSA (just about) continues to publish the Vaccine Surveillance Report and as a result we can explore how the vaccines are impacting on Covid in England.

Cases

The new Covid wave, as defined by data from the Government Covid dashboard, appears to be gathering steam with new cases hitting 100,000 per day; it is easy to forget that the terrible Covid wave during January 2021 peaked at around 60,000 new cases per day (though this was admittedly before mass lateral flow testing had been brought in). We’re told that recent variants are nearly as infectious as measles – ignoring the surprisingly low household infection rate of Omicron variant, which doesn’t support the measles comparison. What do the data say?

Rise in Covid Infections Was Expected After Restrictions Ended in England, Sajid Javid says – Yet Infections Were Rising Already, and Also Surged in Scotland

A surge in Covid infections was always to be “expected” following the easing of Covid restrictions in England, Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said. MailOnline has more.

Sajid Javid said that the U.K. remains in a “very good position” – despite hospital admissions also starting to creep up in the last week – but he urged adults eligible for a booster vaccine to come forward and get the jab.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics Covid Infections Survey showed an increase in cases across the whole of the U.K.

The surveillance report also found infections were rising in England before all Covid laws were lifted on Freedom Day, suggesting the transition towards ‘living with Covid’ is not solely to blame for the latest surge.

Meanwhile, Mr Javid said that a ‘handful’ of cases of the so-called Deltacron variant had been identified in the UK, but were “not of particular concern”. Roughly 99.9% of all infections in Britain are of the Omicron variant, he added.

Mr Javid told Sky News: “We keep the situation very carefully under review.”

As MailOnline points out, Sajid Javid’s claim that the rise is linked to the end of restrictions (mainly the requirement to self-isolate) on February 24th is contradicted by the ONS data, which show infections rebounding from around February 19th (see above).