According to a new study published in the United States, “roughly half of all hospitalized patients appearing on COVID-data dashboards in 2021 may have been admitted for a completely other reason.”
The Atlantic looked into the veracity of coronavirus hospitalizations — as well as the overabundance of coronavirus patients in hospitals. The journalists looked at over 50,000 coronavirus hospital admissions across the country’s more than 100 VA facilities. The criteria were used to determine whether the patient required supplementary oxygen and the level of oxygen in his or her blood.
“They then looked to determine if each patient needed supplemental oxygen or if their blood oxygen level was less than 94 percent. (The latter criterion is based on the definition of “severe COVID” provided by the National Institutes of Health.) The investigators classed a patient as having moderate to severe disease if either of these characteristics were met; otherwise, the case was classified as mild or asymptomatic.”
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JUST IN – New nationwide U.S. "study suggests that roughly half of all the hospitalized patients showing up on COVID-data dashboards in 2021 may have been admitted for another reason entirely."https://t.co/iD2jykICff
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) September 13, 2021
The principle behind the study and what it explores, according to Graham Snyder, medical director of infection control and hospital epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, is crucial. Beyond oxygenation, he said the study would benefit from a bit more depth and complexity. Other metrics for severity of illness, such as intensive-care admissions, have different limitations, according to Daniel Griffin, an infectious-disease specialist at Columbia University. Hospitals, for example, accept patients to their intensive care units based on a variety of factors.
“The analysis discovered that from March 2020 to early January 2021—before broad immunization and the arrival of the Delta variant—36 percent of patients had mild or asymptomatic illness. However, from mid-January to the end of June 2021, that percentage increased to 48%. In other words, the analysis shows that about half of all hospitalized patients appearing on COVID-data dashboards in 2021 may have been admitted for a completely other reason, or may have merely had a minor disease presentation.
The proportion of vaccinated hospital patients with mild or asymptomatic disease increased even more, with 57 percent having mild or silent disease. Unvaccinated patients, on the other hand, have been presenting with less severe symptoms than earlier in the pandemic: Since January 21, 45 percent of their cases were mild or asymptomatic, according to the report. The latter finding could be explained by the fact that unvaccinated patients in the vaccine era tend to be a younger cohort who are less vulnerable to COVID and may be more likely to have been infected in the past, according to Shira Doron, an infectious-disease physician and hospital epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center in Boston and one of the study’s co-authors.