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Covid hospitalization numbers can be misleading (theatlantic.com)
20 points by hammock 7 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 19 comments





From the article: "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."

I don't think that is an accurate representation of the findings. Half of all patients at a VA hospital where they have a policy of testing everyone admitted for COVID regardless of why they are there.

"Among the limitations of the study is that patients in the VA system are not representative of the U.S. population as a whole, as they include few women and no children. (Still, the new findings echo those from the two pediatric-admissions studies.) Also, like many medical centers, the VA has a policy to test every inpatient for COVID, but this is not a universal practice."

So basically the population studied skews towards groups who tend to have better COVID outcomes and is subject to universal testing. It is interesting but I don't think it should really change the picture much.


Which is what all those "conspiracy theories" was about.

Honestly, I feel like the conspiracy guys has been far more accurate than the media about covid. The things they said would happen has happened, with about 6 months delay.

What's next? Watching and seeing if the vaccinated people get much sicker than unvaccinated people when confronted with new variants of covid.


>What's next?

They might say jab passports (once the unjabbed group is small enough to hold down), social credit score, and digital currency.


Like my dad, who was initially admitted for pneumonia. Which can be caused by COVID, which he tested positive for.

He might not still have COVID from the “test positive” perspective, but he still has greatly reduced lung function.

No clue how that would show up in the stats, but goes to show stats can be misused to tell different stories, such as our response to COVID being overblown.


Genuinely surprised so many people with mild or no symptoms even seek hospital care

In Germany generally you go to your GP before being forwarded to a hospital, just walking to the emergency ward is strongly discouraged.

I've always wondered about these scenes on House where the hospital rooms are full of people with the cold, is that really common? Personally I've always really tried to avoid the hospital unless strictly necessary if only because I was kind of afraid of catching something that's worse than what I came in for.


I'm going to enlighten you to the sad reality of life in the United States. Go to your GP before being forwarded to a hospital? It takes months to get an appointment with your GP. That's assuming you have insurance - the GP requires money up-front. It's going to be over $100 for the visit. Why are there so few GPs in the United States? Because that's how the medical insurance companies keep costs low. You need to maximize the doctor to patient ratio to drive down costs (which really just maximizes profits - Americans pay several hundred dollars per month for medical insurance).

The emergency room? By law they have to admit you and treat you, whether you're able to pay or not. Guess what happens?


I see this claim of months to see a GP a lot, but I feels it's doing nothing but mislead non-Americans (and maybe even other Americans) about the state of healthcare in the US. Yes, there are a lot of issues that I could talk about, but I have never in my life had to wait months for a GP visit outside of scheduling a new routine checkup with a new doctor. Any time I have been sick, or people I know who have been sick, a GP appointment has never been more than 2 weeks out. usually within the current week or start of next. Yes, two weeks is seriously not good if you potentially getting really sick but not sick enough for ER, but it's not months.

Having to wait a month for a PCP or specialist appointment isn't that unusual in the US. It varies drastically based on what insurance plan you're on. My family member was booking their PCP 6 weeks out. My girlfriend's breast surgeon followup post cancer appointment was cancelled when her PCP's office didn't get the referral in in time and the next appointment was in Feb 2022.

Fun fact side note: A brain MRI w/ and w/o contrast in NYC has a retail price of $6,700.


Urgent care in the states now exists due to people going to the ER because they either don’t have coverage/a primary care physician, or getting an appointment with their PCP is months to a year out.

it's usually b/c getting into your GP can be hard if their schedule is packed and the emergency room can't turn you away.

ER is also provider of choice for many people w/out insurance - for the same reason.

Well the benchmark used in Portugal was mostly available beds in ICUs, hospitalizations were also reported but deaths and ICU cases were the main ones.

The reason was simple, it's literally "intensive care" that take a lot of resources from the hospitals, and it puts a strain on staff, which is specialized staff (IC nurses, docs, etc), that know procedures and how to operate the medical equipment.

Like one person in intensive care needs to be handled by a lot of people, for 24 hours.

The overall covid hospitalizations just indicate how bad things will become, because a lot of those will fall into ICUs, and some will die.

Because you need to remember, the world misfortunes didn't stop and ICUs suddenly became exclusive for Covid19 patients... strokes, accidents, heart attacks, etc, are prevalent just like in any other year.

So covid hospitalization numbers are only misleading if they choose to mislead people with them... at least here it was quite obvious the cycles of 5-10 days:case spikes > hospitalizations increase > ICU increase > deaths increase.


Isn't "excess deaths" the most reliable number?

The problem being that it's a lagging indicator.


It's funny, those who wish to minimize the impact of COVID, of which there are many on HN for some strange reason, never seem to explain what's up with the excess deaths.

There's always an 'explanation'. I take it you're not lurking certain Facebook groups. Take your pick:

- lockdowns drove people into a lifestyle that favored bad health choices ultimately leading to early deaths (not going outside, not doing sports, etc..). Probably some truth to that.

- lockdowns led to loss of jobs which drove people to suicides or killing others

- antifa killed a lot of people during the blm riots

- mask wearing made people breathe their own germs thus leading to said germs to multiply more and kill people

- people were scared of covid and did not go to the hospital for minor stuff that ended up being major and ended up killing them. Probably some truth to this one also.

- it was just a bad year, no relation to covid. Just more people died, what's the big deal? Population numbers are like a cycle, ok? And we just went through some sort of adjustment, which was unrelated to covid.

- gay frogs became poisonous (!!!)

- And ultimately, the data is broken, see the article above, it turns out it wasn't that bad, right? RIGHT? Same with the excess deaths. The data was misinterpreted, there are no excess deaths

TLDR: don't worry about it. Go outside and consume, the pandemic is now over. It wasn't even a pandemic, it was a 'plandemic'.


It would be very easy to hypothesize that many or all of these excess deaths were from Covid, but what if many of the excess deaths are from some of these causes?

* Extra suicides that occurred because people felt isolated and hopeless due to lockdowns and their living situation.

* People accidentally overdosed on various drugs or engaged in other self-destructive behaviors because no other entertainment options were available for a long time.

* Many people under lockdowns neglected exercise and good eating habits, and gained a ton of weight and harmed their health. On a population wide scale, how many extra heart attacks were achieved? Or how many people who might have otherwise survived a bout with Covid ate themselves into a bad outcome? I'm a fit person, and I know I struggled with my fitness during this time period and gained some weight. I can't imagine how many normal Americans didn't easily gain in excess of 10-20 pounds during this time.

* Many people couldn't have other health procedures like cancer screenings or other procedures during the Covid panic that might have easily otherwise extended their life.

What if these are some or many of the excess deaths? I'm not sure about that, but I can't believe that the last 18 months hasn't led to numerous unintended second order effects that are not properly measured when society is only fixated on 1 variable.



Thank you for the information.

Personally I'd be really interested in some time based statistics. Seeing a weekly or monthly breakdown of suicides since the pandemic started would be interesting. I'd guess that initially suicides plummeted sharply (even depressed people might have been willing to hold out a while to see what happened with Covid) but the longer this dystopia exists, the more despair people will find themselves in and suicide rates will IMO increase. I can't imagine that bad public policy like vaccine passports in places like NYC are going to do wonders for the mental health of people who are not vaccinated.

Just as another data point for my overall argument, drug overdose deaths went up 29.4% according to the CDC. https://www.aha.org/news/headline/2021-07-14-cdc-drug-overdo...

I think calculating a statistic like "net deaths" from Covid is going to be very hard. I think this data is going to be very muddled, very hard to parse out with possibly multiple explanations, and we're going to again be left with a 2-movies-on-one-screen scenario where essentially different groups perceive different realities based on the same data.




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