A near-record 135,000 people are hospitalized in. the United States with Covid. The fear-porners will likely make much of this tomorrow. It’s how they manipulate thought with numbers.
There’s two things to keep in mind about this number:
Everyone in a hospital is tested for Covid repeatedly through their stay.
Covid cases are at an all-time high and rising rapidly every day.
First, let’s address all that testing.
When someone arrives at the hospital for any reason, they get tested for Covid. Every day they’re in the hospital, they’re retested. And they’re tested again at discharge.
Hospitals get paid a bonus for patient with Covid, no matter the reason for their hospitalization. It doesn’t matter when the pop positive. The hospital changes your reason for hospitalization to Covid and collects $18,000.
New York is. the first state to segregate data on hospitalizations with Covid from hospitalizations because of Covid. In their first report, 43 percent of patients with Covid were hospitalized for something else.
Because New York is the only number we have, we have to extrapolate it to the whole country. We could be way off, but it’s the most accurate method of estimation we have until more states start distinguishing between “with” and “because of.”
We can estimate, then, that of the 135,000 people hospitalized with Covid, 75,950 were hospitalized because of Covid and 59,050 were hospitalized for something else.
Kudos to New York for pioneering some degree of meaningfulness in their Covid hospitalization reporting.
Next, that record case number is driving up the number of hospitalizations with Covid. We have no idea if the number of hospitalization because of Covid. We might be able determine than from the New York data in a week or so, but with one data point, we can’t see a trend.
If the proportion of hospitalizations because of Covid remains at or below 57% of hospitalizations with Covid, we’ll know that Covid is becoming less dangerous. We can’t use the total hospitalization count because that’s going to go up as long as they test everybody.
Finally, US hospitalization bed capacity remains below 80 percent, and ICU utilization is just above 80 percent. Hospital business analysts say 80 percent is the minimum occupancy rate for hospitals to turn a profits. It’s 90 percent for ICU unites. Which means hospitals try to keep 80 percent of their regular beds and 90 percent of their ICU beds occupied at all times. So, even with the highest daily case count of all time, hospitals remain below their minimum profitable occupancy levels. Eighty percent utilization (or “capacity”) is bandied about out of context to scare people.
Don’t be scared. Christ has defeated death.