Readers will recall that on January 1st BBC Radio 5 Live broadcast an interview with Laura Duffel, the matron at King’s College Hospital, about the surge of Covid patients that had been admitted over the Christmas period.
Among other things, the matron said:
We have children who are coming in. It was minimally affecting children in the first wave. We have a whole ward of children here and I know that some of my colleagues are in the same position where they have whole wards of children with Covid…
We immediately smelt a rat. Children are more vulnerable to seasonal influenza than they are to Covid, so how could this be true? I asked the Senior Doctor to investigate and, sure enough, it looked very unlikely to be true. He wrote a piece for us entitled: “Are there wards full of children in English hospitals?“
On December 29th there were 474 Covid inpatients at Kings.
433 patients were in adult beds. A further 41 were in ICU beds (total 474)
If there had been any children with Covid in the hospital on December 29th, one would expect the total number of reported Covid patients to be greater than 474 to reflect the balance of patients in paediatric beds. So, if we assume the figures are accurate, there were no children suffering from acute Covid in Kings on December 29th.
Of course, it was possible that a “whole ward” of children suffering from COVID-19 were admitted between December 29th and January 1st, when the matron was interviewed, but, as the Senior Doctor pointed out, that was vanishingly unlikely.