By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley
As the old saying goes, In God we trust: all others bring data. At last, we have some decent – if not yet peer-reviewed – data on who is most susceptible to the Chinese virus. A large survey of patients hospitalized with the infection has just been published.
Features of 16,749 hospitalized UK patients with COVID-19 using the ISARIC WHO Clinical Characterization Protocol is full of useful facts of which governments can take advantage.
Perhaps the most startling results were that a third of all hospitalized patients died, 17% are still in hospital and only half have been discharged. Almost half of all intensive-care or high-dependency patients and more than half of all ventilated patients died. Almost half of those admitted to hospital had no comorbidities: age seems to be the most important risk factor.
Those aged 50-69 were 4 times likelier to die than those under 50: those in their 70s were 10 times likelier to die; those over 80 were 14 times likelier to die; females were 20% less likely to die than males.
Since the paper is not yet peer-reviewed, an outside expert opinion was sought from Dr Derek Hill, Professor of Medical Imaging at University College, London, who said:
“This is an extremely impressive preprint describing the characteristics of nearly 17000 patients with confirmed COVID-19 in UK hospitals. Important to note it only covers those admitted to hospital, and that it is a snapshot of outcomes: many patients included are still in hospital so their outcomes are not yet known. Therefore all the mortality and survival numbers are subject to change.
“This is an especially large study, so it provides helpful insights into the symptoms of COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital. As has been reported many times, this is not like flu in who gets seriously ill or in mortality: young children seem to have low risk and pregnant women do not have a increased risk of serious illness, and it is deadlier than flu.
There are several distinctive clusters of symptoms, with a significant number of patients not having the characteristic cough and fever symptoms. If extrapolated to the community, this might suggest some deaths due to COVID-19 might be missed in untested people. This work also highlights the link between obesity and poor outcome from COVID-19.”
Policymakers devising strategies for phasing out lockdowns will find the following table summarizing the results useful. For instance, since those under 50 are unlikely to die of the infection and the risk of death even for those in their 60s and 70s is quite small, continuing to lock down the entire economy is no longer necessary.
Instead, there will need to be better procedures for protecting old and sick people in hospitals and in care homes from infection. Outside these settings, old people are canny enough to take their own precautions.
Our daily graphs of growth rates or declines in estimated active cases and growth rates in cumulative deaths shows all countries tracked bar Sweden and Ireland with active-case rates declining, and all but Canada with daily cumulative deaths growing at 3% or less.
Fig. 1. Mean compound daily growth rates in estimated active cases of COVID-19 for the world excluding China (red) and for several individual nations averaged over the successive seven-day periods ending on all dates from April 1 to May 2, 2020.
Fig. 2. Mean compound daily growth rates in cumulative COVID-19 deaths for the world excluding China (red) and for several individual nations averaged over the successive seven-day periods ending on all dates from April 8 to May 2, 2020.