Disability for COVID long Haulers

Report: Perhaps Hospitals Are Jammed With COVID Patients Because Administrators Are Overly Cautious

National Public Radio recently reported an amazing story of an Alabama man who died of cardiac arrest after he was turned away from ICUs at an astounding 43 different hospitals spread across three states.

The reliably left-leaning, publicly funded outlet noted that the man’s family found no room for him because coronavirus patients were clogging intensive care units.

They used the occasion of his passing to urge people to get COVID-19 vaccines. “His obit includes this plea,” NPR reported, “‘In honor of Ray, please get vaccinated if you have not, in an effort to free up resources for non-COVID related emergencies.’”

Some observers spotted problems with the story.

One was that NPR cited the man’s newspaper obituary, and attributed his demise “according to his family,” but the network never actually talked directly to his family. NPR apparently also checked with one hospital in his hometown that acknowledged turning him away, but that was because the specialized heart care he required was beyond its expertise. NPR did not reach any of the other 42 hospitals.

The story, as presented, seems a thinly veiled attempt by NPR to promote vaccines, with allegedly overflowing emergency units in hospitals as the rationale.

But the liberal magazine The Atlantic has offered up a report that calls into question about why this is happening.

The article focused on a new study, which admittedly has limitations,  that shows hospitals may be overly zealous in shipping COVID patients to hospital beds.

“From the start, COVID hospitalizations have served as a vital metric for tracking the risks posed by the disease,” The Atlantic noted, pointing out that some healthcare experts believed it was the most reliable data point. Hospitalization rates didn’t have the time lag of the death toll, and unlike routine testing, they actually captured people who were ill from the disease.

“Presumably, hospitalization numbers provide a more stable and reliable gauge of the pandemic’s true toll, in terms of severe disease,” the magazine reported.

But then The Atlantic got to the heart of the matter.

“The federal government requires hospitals to report every patient who tests positive for COVID, yet the overall tallies of COVID hospitalizations, made available on various state and federal dashboards and widely reported on by the media, do not differentiate based on severity of illness,” The Atlantic reported.

“Some patients need extensive medical intervention, such as getting intubated. Others require supplemental oxygen or administration of the steroid dexamethasone. But there are many COVID patients in the hospital with fairly mild symptoms, too, who have been admitted for further observation on account of their comorbidities, or because they reported feeling short of breath. Another portion of the patients in this tally are in the hospital for something unrelated to COVID, and discovered that they were infected only because they were tested upon admission.”

Moreover, the study determined that since mid-January through the end of June, some 48 percent of patients were hospitalized with mild or asymptomatic virus, compared to 36 percent between March 2020 through early January 2021.

“In other words,” The Atlantic pointed out, “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.”

And for all the contempt directed at the unvaccinated by President Joe Biden and his supporters, the study found that 45 percent of that group admitted to hospitals since Jan. 21 were either mild or asymptomatic cases.

In short, if hospitals were not so quick to hospitalize those who have not been jabbed, perhaps that patient from Alabama, if the story is legit, and others could have been treated more rapidly.

The Atlantic also pointed out that we also should be concerned about relying on ICU data as well, as “different hospitals use different criteria for admitting patients to the ICU.”

The study was limited because it mostly focused on VA hospitals, whose clientele are not often reflective of the population at large.

Still, The Atlantic stated, the report “demonstrates that hospitalization rates for COVID, as cited by journalists and policymakers, can be misleading, if not considered carefully.”

“Clearly many patients right now are seriously ill. We also know that overcrowding of hospitals by COVID patients with even mild illness can have negative implications for patients in need of other care,” it continued. “At the same time, 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.”

One expert suggested to the magazine that the definition of “hospitalization” must be reworked. “Those patients who are there with rather than from COVID don’t belong in the metric,” the expert said. Which is something many on the right have been saying for months.

The Atlantic piece raises a couple of key points.

The first is that this is at least the third article in the past couple of weeks wherein the liberal media has questioned the Fauci-ized approach to the pandemic. Those other two expressed doubt about the need or efficacy of mandatory-masking policies.

But the other issue dredged up by The Atlantis is one the magazine apparently did not want to tackle.

As Scott Hounsell, a columnist for the conservative site RedState pointed out, hospitals are reimbursed at higher rates for COVId patients.

“Should hospitals be left with a choice as to whether they leave beds empty or place a COVID patient, it boils down to a simple business decision,” Hounsell wrote, “Patient in bed: Paid. No Patient in Bed: Not Paid.”

Still, The Atlantic has offered an important contribution to our understanding of COVID – which has been hobbled because of a range of issues, such as the varying sensitivity of PCR tests; the lack of accounting for natural immunity; the flip-flops by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the CDC and others, the “with” or “from” issue and the time lag in reporting deaths, just to name a few.

Such reporting may not divert the top-down, control-oriented thinking of government officials, but it does give the laymen a way to challenge the basis for some of those assumptions. 

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