Two-thirds of COVID hospital patients in England were actually admitted for a different illness, an analysis of NHS data suggests.
In the two weeks to December 21, NHS England recorded 563 new coronavirus admissions. But just 197 (35%) were being primarily treated for COVID. The remaining 366 (65%) only tested positive after being admitted for something else.
MailOnline quotes experts as saying it was important to distinguish between admissions primarily for COVID so that rising numbers do not spook ministers into more social restrictions or scare the public from going into hospital.
Meanwhile, officials are reported to be considering a national two-week ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown after Christmas if London’s daily hospital admissions breach 400 this week – which would mean ‘unsustainable’ pressure on the NHS.
The latest data shows that 301 patients were admitted on Monday.
The rising number of cases where people are only diagnosed with COVID after going into hospital with a different illness mirrors the picture in South Africa.
Studies in the epicentre Gauteng province have shown up to 75% of COVID patients were not admitted for the virus.