This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.


New Study Highlights Huge Difference Between Patients Hospitalized 'With' COVID vs 'From' COVID
Elizabeth Vaughn 9/14/2021 10:01 AM

 

Image by Miroslava Chrienova from Pixabay


We've been down this road before.

Remember when we learned last summer that even if a person died of a gunshot wound or cancer, but happened to have COVID, their death was recorded as a COVID-19 death?

The same phenomenon is playing itself out with hospitalization statistics. On Monday, The Atlantic's David Zweig reported the results of a new study which found that patients who are hospitalized for other conditions, but happen to test positive for COVID, are categorized as "COVID-19 hospitalizations."

This may not sound like a major distinction, but it doubles number of COVID hospitalizations. The number of hospitalizations is a widely followed statistic for those trying to gauge the severity of the pandemic and is often used to direct policy decisions.

Zweig explains just how significant this is:

COVID hospitalizations have served as a vital metric for tracking the risks posed by the disease. Last winter, this magazine described it as “the most reliable pandemic number,” while Vox quoted the cardiologist Eric Topol as saying that it’s “the best indicator of where we are.” On the one hand, death counts offer finality, but they’re a lagging signal and don’t account for people who suffered from significant illness but survived. Case counts, on the other hand, depend on which and how many people happen to get tested. Presumably, hospitalization numbers provide a more stable and reliable gauge of the pandemic’s true toll, in terms of severe disease.

The number of people hospitalized "with" COVID as opposed to "because of" COVID, Zweig points out, has increased since the introduction of the vaccine. Individuals who are vaccinated tend to have milder cases of the disease than those who are unvaccinated.

[Researchers] analyzed the electronic records for nearly 50,000 COVID hospital admissions at the more than 100 VA hospitals across the country. Then they checked to see whether each patient required supplemental oxygen or had a blood oxygen level below 94 percent. (The latter criterion is based on the National Institutes of Health definition of “severe COVID.”) If either of these conditions was met, the authors classified that patient as having moderate to severe disease; otherwise, the case was considered mild or asymptomatic.

The study found that from March 2020 through early January 2021—before vaccination was widespread, and before the Delta variant had arrived—the proportion of patients with mild or asymptomatic disease was 36 percent. From mid-January through the end of June 2021, however, that number rose to 48 percent. In other words, the 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, or had only a mild presentation of disease.

Zweig concludes:

This study suggests that COVID hospitalization tallies can’t be taken as a simple measure of the prevalence of severe or even moderate disease, because they might inflate the true numbers by a factor of two. “As we look to shift from cases to hospitalizations as a metric to drive policy and assess level of risk to a community or state or country,” Doron told me, referring to decisions about school closures, business restrictions, mask requirements, and so on, “we should refine the definition of hospitalization. Those patients who are there with rather than from COVID don’t belong in the metric.”

Eons ago, when I was in college, I read a book called, "How to Lie with Statistics." Its premise was that a set of data can be manipulated to tell two different stories.

The truth of this concept has been on full display over the past 18 months. Statistics have been weaponized by politicians and the media to increase the public's fear. They have tried to scare us into submission because it's so much easier to control people when they are frightened.

I don't mean to downplay the severity of COVID-19, a disease that has killed millions of people worldwide over the past 18 months.

But it would be helpful to know how many of the 4,655,120 deaths recorded by Worldometers.com (as of 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning), are actually "from" COVID-19.

I only ask that data be truthful, that we are given an accurate version of the risks, so that we can make personal health decisions accordingly.



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Elizabeth Vaughn
Elizabeth Vaughn is a contract writer at The Western Journal and a current contributor to American Free News Network. She is a former contributor to RedState, Newsmax, The Dan Bongino Show, and The Federalist. Her articles have also appeared on Instapundit, RealClearPolitics, MSN, Hot Air, The Gateway Pundit, Ricochet and other sites. Prior to blogging, Elizabeth was a financial consultant at Merrill Lynch and an independent equity trader. She is a wife, a mom to three grown children and several beloved golden retrievers, and a grandmother.




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