Under pressure from Governor Kathy Hochul, hospitals in New York have disclosed that nearly half of their so-called COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized were admitted for other reasons.
Of the roughly 11,500 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized in the state, COVID was not included as one of the reasons for admission for 43 percent, according to data Hochul released on Friday.
In New York City, the rate was even higher, with 51 percent of current COVID patients classified as ‘with’ COVID, as opposed to ‘for’ the virus.
In patients ‘with’ COVID, they were hospitalized for unrelated reasons, such as injuries in a car crash, but tested positive for the virus on the routine screening administered to all new patients and were subsequently reclassified as COVID admissions.
On Friday, for the second consecutive day, New York State saw its highest death toll from COVID-19 since the beginning of vaccinations and while things aren’t as dire as during the pandemic’s peak, cases continue to go up.
The state recorded 82,094 new cases of coronavirus and 155 new deaths due to COVID. New York City alone is responsible for 32,799 cases and 586 new hospitalizations. Cases are about six times as high among the unvaccinated as they are among those who’ve gotten the shot.
Researchers at Washington University modelling the next stage of the pandemic expect Omicron to kill up to 99 per cent fewer people than Delta, as scientists say that the variant is less deadlier than the flu.
Hospitals in New York have disclosed that nearly half of their so-called COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized were admitted for other reasons
New York Governor Kathy Hochul this week ordered hospitals to begin revealing the distinction, which earned her praise for the increased transparency
Hochul explained at a press conference on Friday that the state has seen a sharp increase in covid hospitalizations during the Omicron surge, but she wanted to know whether severe infections were actually driving the surge.
‘This has troubled me, what do those numbers actually mean?,’ she said. ‘Who is being admitted for covid purposes that they’re sick enough to have to be hospitalized for covid, it’s that severe, versus people who are admitted to hospital…who are in there for other reasons?’
‘Think of all the other reasons people end up in a hospital. It’s an overdose, it’s a car accident, it’s a heart attack,’ Hochul said.
Hochul issued her order to change the reporting methods for covid hospitalizations on Monday, but did not get the first breakdown until Friday.
The governor explained that she was prompted to investigate the issue after noticing that the number of people hospitalized for any reason had remained roughly steady since December 21, even while the share of new admissions testing positive for COVID surged from 16 to 42 percent.
Hospitalizations classified as COVID have been rising sharply in New York, but the new data sheds more light on how many are actually due to the virus
Hochul said she was prompted to investigate after noticing that total hospitalizations (above) were remaining fairly steady, even as a greater share were classified as COVID
Disgraced former governor Andrew Cuomo never revealed this key distinction in the earlier phases of the pandemic, and Hochul, a Democrat, won praise even from conservatives for shedding light on the issue.
‘The breakdown should go a long way to calming needless fears, since getting hit so hard by the virus that you need hospital care is the main worry for most of us,’ wrote the New York Post editorial board.
‘What a change from her predecessor, who actively concealed information at the height of the pandemic,’ the editorial added.
Worth noting, the figures released on Friday only relate to current hospitalizations — they are not a breakdown of reasons for admission throughout the pandemic.
It is possible that the Omicron variant, which is highly contagious but appears much milder than earlier strains, is more likely to cause a larger number of incidental hospitalizations ‘with’ COVID.
A regional breakdown shows that New York City has the greatest percentage of incidental COVID hospitalizations, but the reason for the regional difference is unclear
A patient is brought to a hospital emergency entrance, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Manhattan on January 5, 2022
An recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that in July and August, when the Delta strain was dominant, about 78 percent of children and adolescents hospitalized with COVID were admitted for acute symptoms of the disease.
Only 20 percent had ‘incidental’ infections on admission for other reasons, while the remaining 2 percent had had “multisystem inflammatory syndrome”, a rare COVID-related condition.
But New York City health officials have never revealed this distinction in their own data, and were forced to address the issue after Hochul issued her demand for the statistics earlier this week.
‘As you would expect because there’s so much community transmission, we’ve had people [in] car accidents COVID positive, coming to deliver a baby, COVID positive,’ said Dr. Mitchell Katz, the CEO of the city’s public hospital system, at a press conference on Thursday.
‘Absolutely, there are people as part of those hospital statistics who are COVID cases.’
Could Omicron be even LESS deadly than seasonal flu? Scientists believe ultra-infectious strain may kill 100 TIMES fewer people than Delta
Omicron could be even less deadly than flu, scientists believe in a boost to hopes that the worst of the pandemic is over.
Some experts have always maintained that the coronavirus would eventually morph into a seasonal cold-like virus as the world develops immunity through vaccines and natural infection. But the emergence of the highly-mutated Omicron variant appears to have sped the process up.
MailOnline analysis shows that in the United Kingdom, Covid killed one in 33 people who tested positive at the peak of the devastating second wave last January, compared to just one in 670 now. But experts believe the figure could be even lower because of Omicron.
The case fatality rate — the proportion of confirmed infections that end in death — for seasonal influenza is 0.1, the equivalent of one in 1,000.
Researchers at Washington University modelling the next stage of the pandemic expect Omicron to kill up to 99 per cent fewer people than Delta, in another hint it could be less deadly than flu.
No accurate infection-fatality rate (IFR), which is always just a fraction of the CFR because it reflects deaths among everyone who catches the virus, has yet been published for Delta.
If Omicron is 99 per cent less lethal than Delta, it suggests the current IFR could be as low as 0.0025 per cent, the equivalent of one in 40,000, although experts say this is unlikely. Instead, the Washington modelling estimates the figure actually sits in the region of 0.07 per cent, meaning approximately one in 1,430 people who get infected will succumb to the illness.
Leading researchers estimate flu’s IFR to sit between 0.01 and 0.05 per cent but argue comparing rates for the two illnesses is complicated.
MailOnline analysis shows the UK’s case fatality rate — the proportion of confirmed infections that end in death — has shrunk 21-fold from three per cent during the darkest days of the second wave last winter before the vaccine rollout to 0.15 per cent at the end of December. For comparison, widely-circulated data suggests seasonal influenza has a case-fatality rate of around 0.1 per cent
The Oxford University team behind Our World in Data estimates that the UK’s IFR rate is currently 0.1 per cent. At the peak of the wave last winter, they estimated three per cent of those who caught Covid died from the virus. The declining IFR will be impacted by the increase in testing capacity this year, as comparatively more cases are now being detected
Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz, an epidemiologist at the University of Wollongong in Australia, told MailOnline his ‘very rough best guess’ was that triple-jabbed people were at the same risk from Omicron as they are from the flu. ‘Add the new medications into the mix and it gets even more complex,’ he added.
But scientists today leaped on the estimates, saying it was more proof that the worst days of the pandemic were over and that Britain needs to get back on the path to normality.
Professor Robert Dingwall, a former JCVI member of and expert in sociology at Nottingham Trent University, told MailOnline it will be a few weeks until there are definitive Omicron fatality rates, but if they are consistent with the findings that it is less severe ‘we should be asking whether we are justified in having any measures we would not bring for a bad flu season’.
He said: ‘If we would not have brought in the measures in November 2019, why are we doing it now? What’s the specific justification for doing it?
‘If the severity of Covid infection is falling away to the point that it is comparable with flu then we really shouldn’t have exceptional levels of intervention.’
There would be no justification in having ‘any restriction we didn’t previously have’ if the modelling is confirmed in the coming weeks, Professor Dingwall said.