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More People in ICU with "Mild Omicron"?
Is it "mild" if more patients end up in ICU?
Many prominent vaccine skeptics are pounding their tables, insisting how Omicron is mild. When pointed at hospitalization data, they say “people are hospitalized with mild symptoms”. Like hospitals would admit someone with a cold or anxiety?
So, I decided to find some hard numbers and had some luck. I looked at New York City’s hospitalization and ICU numbers. The numbers below are “daily bed counts”, although you can change a selection and look at daily hospital admissions also.
I saved data for the entire December by clicking on vertical bars of the NY Hospitalization Dashboard. In the beginning, hospitalized and persons in ICU were dominated by Delta. Closer to the end, Omicron changed these ratios in favor of Omicron hospitalized.
Please note that there is a lag between hospitalization and transfer to ICU, which as far as I remember is about a week. (just as Covid people would take a week between getting a positive test and going to a hospital) The table below gives a summary of these numbers.
Here’s a chart of the “7-day Lag Ratio” column:
You can pretty much see that the ratio of ICU patients to all hospitalizations, shifted by 7 days, is stable and goes slightly UP at the end. That this chart is relatively stable as hospitalizations and ICU beds are booming wildly, suggests that 7-day lag is pretty appropriate.
The lag is not because I want it, but because it takes time for hospitalized persons to worsen enough to need to be transferred to the expensive and limited ICU. At first, people can manage with a little help, a little bit of this and that, but in the end some need intensive care.
This chart is INCOMPATIBLE with a suggestion that “Omicron patients get hospitalized with mild symptoms”, because reliably the ICU bed count percentage a week after hospitalization beds, is not coming down as Omicron takes over.
In other words, Omicron patients who are hospitalized are just as severe, if not more severe, than Delta patients. You can download more data from NYC using the link above and play with it. The result would be about same if you looked at ICU beds, compared to “hospital beds without ICU” a week ago. (subtracting ICU beds from all beds a week ago)
By the way (prove it to yourself) these percentages are very similar or a little higher than, the October percentages. So December ratio of ICU beds to hospital beds a week before, is similar to October, when no Omicron existed.
So… is Omicron mild, again?
Mind you, I hope that Omicron is milder and it may indeed be less severe than Delta, as a percentage of deaths to cases, on comparable basis. Time will tell. But the idea that “Omicron patients get hospitalized with mild symptoms” is bullshit.
Again, if you are a passionate antivaxxer and think that “Omicron is severe” is something you need to debunk, in order to avoid lockdowns, please refer to my article “Severe Omicron Vindicated Antivaxx Thought”.
The deattenuating Covid virus does not care about our political preferences. The virus does what it does. And truth is more important than politics.
Omicron cases will peak around January 10-20 in USA, and will start coming down, and no lockdown can change anything at some point. The fire is already “involved” and we just need to wait and put out the ambers.
But it is WITH Omicron, not Because Of…
To people who want to again say that “patients are hospitalized WITH omicron, not because of Omicron”. Your objection is worth looking at. You are not saying nonsense.
But data proves you mostly wrong. Look, for example, at NY-Presbyterian hospital Emergency Department visits, with data only up to Dec 17:
You see that as Covid visits rise, the “total” number of visits also rises by almost the same number. That means it is not “with Covid” but “Because of Covid”.