Richard North, 06/01/2022  

With the resumption of normal hostilities after the Christmas break, the media is full of Covid stories, with the NHS crisis high up in the headlines. But this is no ordinary crisis – it is one invented and assiduously cultivated by the Covid Mafia and the inevitable outcome of the latest example of their mismanagement of the epidemic.

Triggering the latest round of "panic porn" are the latest official figures, which record a record 194,747 people tested positive and 334 deaths "within 28 days of positive test", enough to get the wibblers in the BBC and elsewhere adopting their crisis faces as they intone the news.

The "case" figure is quite obviously a record, an unprecedented level that is higher than anything previously recorded. On the same day last year, the system recorded 65,051 "cases" – almost exactly a third of the current case rate.

Yet, as always, the devil is in the detail. While the cases are staggeringly high, this is not the case with most of the other figures. With hospital admissions, for instance, the daily peak in 2021 was on 12 January, reaching 4,583 patients. For the same day equivalent, the figure was 4,119 with the 7-day average at 3,976.

This time round, the daily admissions figure stands at 2,258 and, while in January 2021 there were nearly 32,000 patients in hospital (with the tally rising sharply to a peak of nearly 49,000 a week later), the latest occupancy figure stands at 16,309, almost exactly half the level of last year.

As significantly, patients in mechanical ventilation beds registered at 2,645 on a steeply rising curve which peaked at 4,076 on 22 January. The current figure (4 January) stands a 911, considerable less than half the figure at the same time last year, and less than a quarter of the peak figure. Furthermore, despite the alarums over the situation in London and elsewhere, the curve is essentially flat.

Deaths, incidentally, were recorded at 906 for the day, this time last year – again on a steeply rising curve - compared with 334 currently, a figure which is inflated by the addition of previous day's figures.

But, apart from the current case load, there is one other figure which is also breaking records – the number of test conducted. This time last year, 498,624 tests were undertaken. Yesterday, we saw registered an incredible 2,050,101- the first time ever that the two-million barrier has been broken - over four times last year's figure.

By now, it should be obvious even to the feeble brains of "half" Whitty, Harries, Hopkins, et al that – all things being equal – if you significantly increase the rate of testing in the community, then you are going to see correspondingly more positives reported.

In this event, though, we are seeing a four-fold increase in testing but this is only matched by a three-fold increase in people testing positive, less than half the number of people being admitted to hospital and a fraction of the death date.

What we're not getting (yet) is dwell time figures in hospitals, although there are indications that these will be shorter. But there is also another helpful indicator that suggests that local "surges" are shorter than they were with the delta variant, peaking quickly before burning out rapidly and subsiding to relatively low levels as the infection ripples through the country.

On the basis of a more wide-ranging analysis than we are seeing in the legacy media, therefore, it is appropriate to suggest that we are not seeing a Covid crisis, per se, so much as an administrative crisis in the NHS brought about by the increased testing and the current self-isolation policy.

This, according to this report (in the Mail has close to ten percent of NHS employees estimated to be off sick or self-isolating.

Belatedly, as they begin to experience the results of their own folly, health service officials (with the assent of government) are removing the requirement for people showing positive on a lateral flow test, without suffering symptoms, to take a confirmatory PCR test.

On top of this, the isolation period has been cut from ten to seven days, providing someone tested negative using a lateral flow test on days six and seven. But now, Matthew Taylor, head of the NHS Confederation is calling for two more days should be shaved off the period, in order to get more health service personnel back to work.

Here, there are the beginnings of suspicion, articulated by the Telegraph that the current rules are "'open to abuse".

There has already been anecdotal evidence that some less than highly-motivated employees have been taking multiple lateral flow tests until they have been able to produce a positive, then to call in sick. And, with unions advising members that, under current Covid rules, they can stay off work for 28 days without a sick note, there are "growing fears" that the system itself is fuelling absenteeism in the public sector.

Rarely, it has to be said, therefore, has the medical establishment been caught out so comprehensively, and misread the situation – from "top scientist" Neil "lockdown" Ferguson, to the latest Guardian pundit, William Hanage - professor of the evolution and epidemiology of infectious disease at Harvard.

Hanage argues that to call omicron's rise in the UK "precipitate" is to violently understate matters. But he is, like so many, relying on the record daily case rates without looking at the underlying test rate.

Referring to this "astonishing surge of infection", he goes on to suggest that, if omicron was "half as virulent as delta, but infected four times as many people, twice as fast, "that's still a wrecking ball aimed at a teetering healthcare system".

But, if real world figures show that quadrupling the testing produces only a three-fold increase in positives, while hospital admissions are more than halved, then even to call it a "surge" is to violently overstate matters.

However, another factor in the mix is the difficulty in managing bed allocations. One trust manager reports that his hospital still had beds available but that these could not be given to non-Covid patients as every other patient on the same ward had tested positive.

Once again, the NHS is being stymied by its own dogma, and its insistence in putting all its eggs in the district general basket, instead of building a properly functioning network of infectious disease hospitals. Not only does the NHS seem incapable of solving its own problems, it seems to lack the capability even to identify them properly.

Thus we have the NHS Confederation squealing for the introduction or a raft of emergency measures, to deal with problems of its own making which, at best, can only provide temporary expedients.

Against the steady drumbeat of publicity, lamenting the "overwhelmed NHS", bolstered by spurious statistics and shroud-waving politicians and medics, Johnson is going to have his work cut out, trying to hold the line against additional measures.

As with climate change, there is far too much invested in the crisis rhetoric, while the media is amplifying the "panic porn" for its own purposes. Any advantage in toning it down is far outweighed by the gains in maintaining the crisis atmosphere, which serves to obscure the structural deficiencies in a dysfunctional service.

Also published on Turbulent Times.

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