There is massive hype about Coronavirus. As this blog has already discussed there are many strange and undiscussed aspects to the Public Health response in the UK.
One of these is capacity. The main driver for lockdowns and all the other restrictions including mask-wearing (largely pointless from an individual medical point of view though with a small effect on a very large scale perhaps) has been “to protect the NHS”. Most members of the public reading the pronouncements of public health officials will believe that the hospitals are awash with thousands perhaps hundreds of thousands of desperately ill otherwise healthy people. This image is deliberately created and used to drive the restrictions as well as other excesses including the risky and medically unjustifiable vaccination of healthy children. The image includes multiple ‘fakes’. As the above post points out; capacity in the NHS is in normal times almost full in Winter anyway. It only takes a few hundred people out of a population of 60 million to unexpectedly need intensive care and the system is in complete crisis. As we have discussed above there has been no attempt to increase capacity in the NHS. In fact finally, with the Omicron wave and nearly two years into the pandemic, that has just begun to happen with a plan (which may in fact never be implemented) to set up field hospitals in hospital car parks staffed by army medics and volunteers. Another cover-up recently came into the open; the figures cited for “people in hospital with Covid” that have been used again to maximise the image of a massive pandemic are hugely exaggerated. It varies but at the moment at least and concerning London half the people in hospital “with Covid” are in fact there being treated for other illnesses. They have been tested positive for Covid but that is not the problem; it is incidental Covid.
The fact is: for healthy people under 70 the mortality rate from Covid is comparable to flu. The majority of people in hospital with Covid are either overweight or have existing serious comorbidities or both. The average age of death from Covid in the UK is 86. The media love finding examples of people in their thirties and forties who are seriously ill with Covid. But the statistics don’t lie; these people (a tragedy in each of course) are relatively rare.
It is now accepted it seems that the Omicron variant causes less serious illness than previous variants. It is of course important at this point to note that a new variant could reverse this trend. Nonetheless, let’s look at how serious Omicron is. Let’s look at hospital admission data. This ONS data reports a current hospital admission rate of 19 per 100,000 people who are “Covid confirmed”, which I presume means have a positive test. As the ONS admits the hospital admissions will include all those who test positive for Covid even if they are being admitted for something else. Extrapolating our 50% incidental Covid figure (see above) this gives us a hospital admission rate of about 10 per 100,000. The same ONS data confirms the heavy tilt towards the elderly in hospital admissions. The data does not give figures for obesity and existing comorbidities because this aspect of the matter is being suppressed by the Public Health authorities in the UK. But we can be confident that of the 10 in 100,000 over half will be overweight (or obese).  A very high proportion will have comorbidities. (For example, this US study in a number of states reports than in more than 90% of Covid deaths comorbidities played a role).  So; 10 in 100,000 but the profile of these 10 is heavily skewed towards being old, overweight or having existing comorbidities, or some combination of these factors. This isn’t looking quite like the mass plague of the Public Health messaging.
But even this figure of 10 in 100,000 is likely to be inflated. The ONS data above (with its 19 in 100,000 including incidental Covid) is based on “confirmed Covid” which seems to mean a test. Of course the number with Covid but not tested (and reported) is much larger.
This US CDC data  gives a hospitalisation rate for flu for 2019-20 of 66 per 100,000.
Covid at least in its Omicron form is not an especially serious disease. It results in less hospitalisations than flu. (Of course here we are comparing US and UK data and there may be other factors in play; nonetheless it does appear that overall hospitalisations from Omicron are unlikely to be higher than from flu). Of course it is absolutely true that the vaccines have helped to mitigate the incidence of serious illness. So we should say that taking vaccination into account the Omicron form of Sars-Cov-2 is not an especially serious disease.
The reason hospitals are being overwhelmed is a) that there is very very little spare capacity and b) because this is a new and highly infectious virus with little built-in immunity in the population the overall numbers being infected and thus (proportionally) the overall numbers requiring hospitalisation are quite high – that is higher than the very limited spare capacity.
The real ‘crisis’ of the Omicron version of Sars-Cov-2 at least is not that of an especially serious disease but of a lack of capacity to handle the impact of a new virus affecting an entire population. But to deal with this problem rather than build new temporary capacity the Public Health response in the UK has been to create an image of a deadly disease in order to justify socially restrictive measures to try to reduce hospitalisations to levels which can be managed within existing hospital capacity.
This policy of not increasing capacity has without doubt led to unnecessary deaths including: i) when Covid was seeded into Care Homes by clearing Covid-infected elderly people out of hospitals, ii) deaths resulting from people not attending GPs and hospitals for non Covid-related issues either due to fear or to their operations being cancelled and iii) deaths from in-hospital infections caused by mixing Covid cases with non Covid cases. (In our previous article we give some of the estimated numbers of avoidable deaths). The policy of “Protect the NHS” which essentially meant respond to the pandemic without building any extra capacity, has led to avoidable deaths.
The recent scheme to add capacity by building field hospitals in hospital car parks staffed by army medics and transferred staff shows that it was at all times entirely possible to have increased capacity.
The policy response to the pandemic in the UK was run by Public Health officials whose primary goal was to preserve their estate in a pristine state.