ICUs

Latest NHS Data Suggest Omicron No Worse Than a Bad Cold

We’re publishing a guest post by our in-house doctor looking at the latest NHS data, including ICU data. Conclusion: Omicron hospital admissions in the community are declining and are unlikely to result in severe COVID-19.

Before diving into the numbers this week, I’d like to give a big shout out to Ms. Kate Josephs CBE, formerly the Director of the Cabinet Office Covid taskforce. According to the Telegraph, which broke the story of her leaving party, she “literally wrote the rules” in relation to societal restrictions.

Ms. Josephs took to twitter yesterday to apologise for attending a leaving drinks party on December 17th 2020, when she had been substantially responsible for putting the rest of the country under house arrest. She writes about being “truly sorry” for attending the event – she clearly means she’s sorry for being exposed.

The Telegraph has a helpful timeline graphic showing the dates of the many known social events in Whitehall against a backdrop of prevailing restrictions at the time. I had no idea being a civil servant was such fun! It is interesting that the parties all cluster round periods of maximum lockdown. The brief period in the summer of 2020 was a social desert for civil servants. Maybe they were all on extended holidays?

I love a good laugh, so I’d genuinely like to thank Ms. Josephs. I haven’t laughed so much since Dominic Cummings took a 20-mile drive to test his eyes. By being exposed, this formerly faceless apparatchik has performed a valuable public service. Her hypocrisy reveals the absurdity of what Lord David Frost calls “Covid Theatre” – pointless petty regulations enforced so that the Government appears to be “doing something”. If Kate Josephs really believed in December 2020 that covid was a serious threat to her health, would she have turned up to a drinking session in a cramped Whitehall office? I think not.

According to the Latest ICU Data, the Unvaccinated Are Not ‘Overwhelming the NHS’

We’re publishing a guest post by our in-house doctor today looking at the latest ICNARC data. This is the weekly audit of NHS ICUs. It only covers the period up to November 14th, but suggests that unvaccinated Covid patients in ICU are not placing an unmanageable strain on the NHS, as some health professionals have claimed. On the contrary, as of November 15th, there were only 400 unvaccinated Covid patients in ICUs across the whole of NHS England and they were outnumbered by vaccinated patients.

Today the Prime Minister will be making a decision on further measures to limit social interactions by British citizens. Information leaked from SAGE appear to indicate the ‘scientific advisers’ to the Government are pushing him to reinstitute more aggressive social controls in an effort to control the virus.

As Monday and Tuesday (the 27th and the 28th) are bank holidays, there will be no release of Covid related data on the NHS website. Therefore, the public will be able to see even less information than usual about the quantifiable evidence on which their liberty is being curtailed.

On Christmas Eve, the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) released an updated weekly report containing useful new information. Readers may recall that until recently, ICNARC had not produced an audit of vaccination status in ICUs. We now have data up to November 15th and this week a more granular analysis has been published. The link to the report is here and the relevant pages are 44-48.

I urge readers to examine this report for themselves in tandem with my analysis as a guide to interpretation. There has been so much misinformation around vaccines and severe Covid on both sides of the argument that a high-quality ICNARC audit is invaluable in assessing quantifiable known facts about the situation.

Readers should note that all patients included in this audit were suffering from the Delta variant. The time period ends on November 15th, well before Omicron became established in the U.K. Therefore, the debate around whether Omicron is more or less severe than Delta is irrelevant for the purposes of this commentary.

Figure 27 on page 46 shows the changing proportions of vaccinated people in ICU units between May and November compared to vaccination status in the general U.K. population. Over this period vaccination uptake increased in the community from around 60% partially or double vaccinated in May to over 80% double vaccinated in November.