The normal increase in coughs and colds in September is causing “total chaos” in Britain after the incarceration
The normal increase in coughs and colds in September, caused by declining schools, is causing ‘total chaos’ in the UK as people are terrified of Covid-19, a top scientist said.
Professor Carl Heneghan, former physician and now a medical expert at the University of Oxford, today expressed his frustration at the “panic” sparked over the coronavirus crisis.
At a meeting with MPs from Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee, he insisted that coughs and colds increase every September as children return to class, and are even more common in winter.
But government reports of Covid-19’s deadly effects and forcing entire cities and regions to lock up – rules that now apply to 9.2 million people – have ‘feared’ and ‘terrorized’ members of the public. abandoned.
He said there is a 50 percent increase in the number of reports of GPs seeing patients with respiratory infections who have the same symptoms as the coronavirus.
Professor Heneghan’s comments come as the government complains about skyrocketing demand for coronavirus tests from people who fear they have it.
National test processing laboratories are crumbling under the pressure of the more than 200,000 smears a day that they are inundated with, and people are even coming to emergency departments or queuing outside test centers, desperate to be seen.
The Oxford scientist said coughs will continue to increase in the winter months and there will also be a spike in deaths and people in hospitals – some will be caused by coronavirus, he said, but most will not.
He argued that the virus is not circulating at epidemic levels and current levels would not be uncommon if it were a cold or flu.
In his meeting with MPs today, Professor Heneghan said:
- A coughing disease would not normally be considered an epidemic until doctors saw 400 symptomatic cases per 100,000 – much higher than the Covid-19 rates;
- The Eat Out to Help Out restaurant voucher program has likely led to an increase in the spread of the coronavirus;
- Increasing testing is still only recording a fraction of the actual number of cases, but it detects more “background infections” because it is more targeted, making it appear that cases are increasing enormously;
- Bolton may be suffering from high-level infections because the virus was not widespread there before the lockdown was lifted and people did not build up immunity;
- Swab tests still select too many people who are not contagious, and studying individuals’ viral loads could help officials select those at risk of spreading it;
- The country cannot test how it will come out of the outbreak and there must be a coherent strategy for what to do with case number knowledge and an acceptable level;
- Ambiguous expressions such as ‘Moonshot’ are not useful for communicating government plans and have no basis in science, which should be paramount.
Professor Carl Heneghan appeared before members of the Science and Technology Committee MPs today and said the government’s approach to tackling the coronavirus and the coverage of the virus has “ terrified ” people.
“Keeping our kids in school is important, but right now it’s a total chaos because of the 50 percent increase in other respiratory pathogens that mimic Covid in children,” said Professor Heneghan.
He is referring to illnesses that cause similar symptoms to Covid-19, which are usually viral infections called respiratory infections or respiratory infections.
Cases of this peak every winter because people spend more time indoors close to each other, and coughing and sneezing easily spread them.
And they are rising now, Professor Heneghan said, as kids go to school every day and interact with others more. This would happen regardless of the Covid-19 outbreak.
But because the symptoms are so similar – cough, difficulty breathing, wheezing, or fever – people think they or their children may have Covid-19.
As a result, the demand for tests is increasing. As more people are tested in an area, more cases are discovered that might not otherwise be, making infections appear higher there.
For example, parents have reportedly taken coronavirus tests because their children are sick, or because their classmates have had Covid fears.
Professor Heneghan argues that more testing is leading to more cases, raising concerns that a deadly resurgence of the coronavirus is on the way, similar to the virus that locked the country.
“I want to explain what will happen in September,” he said. ‘We have seen in the RCGP [Royal College of General Practitioners] surveillance data, a 50 percent increase in consultations for acute respiratory infections.
‘When you go back to school, start a business and when we come back on vacation, there is a very predictable increase in acute respiratory pathogens.
‘That leads to an almost three-fold increase in [emergency] admissions for children in September alone, so it’s important to say you’re acting against the backdrop of what’s happening in September for all acute respiratory pathogens.
‘Out of the 200,000 people who come forward [for Covid-19 tests] it appears that about 25 are asymptomatic when they present themselves, and about 150,000 have some observable symptoms.
“97 percent of them have another acute respiratory pathogen on board and about three to four thousand have Covid, so let’s get the context straight.”
Data from Public Health England shows an increase in the number of appointments where doctors have seen people with diseases similar to Covid-19, but those levels are far from being seen in March and April
The number of people going to the doctor with respiratory infections starts to rise sharply in September and the annual average (dotted line) shows that it is increasing every year, even before the coronavirus.
The same is true for lower respiratory tract infections, which also cause coughing and breathing difficulties
Doctors will also see more and more people with the flu as winter approaches. Flu also causes similar feverish symptoms to Covid-19
DIDO HARDING CLAIMS DEMAND FOR TESTS IS 4 TIMES AS HIGH AS THE OFFER
Demand for Covid tests is up to four times the system’s capacity, Baroness Dido Harding admitted today.
The Tory colleague, who heads the Test & Trace system, revealed the staggering discrepancy between the number of people who want tests and the ability to run them, as she claimed 27 percent have no symptoms.
Extraordinarily, she said no one had “expected” the “significant” increase in demand – although it was widely predicted, blaming SAGE for making their estimates incorrect.
Lady Harding has been dragged in front of MPs to explain the mess that has left thousands struggling to be checked.
She told the Science Committee she didn’t have exact numbers for how many people wanted tests. But she said phone calls and website visits suggested it was “three to four times the number of tests available.”
Lady Harding boldly said passing on the money for the chaos: “We have built our capacity plans based on SAGE models for what we should be preparing for in the fall.”
Lady Harding confirmed that the diagnostic testing capacity is now just under 243,000 per day – a figure the government has not published in over a week. Thousands of tests could be sent overseas for processing to resolve a “wave,” she said.
She said the government is “on track” to increase capacity to 500,000 antigen tests per day by the end of October.
And she admitted that won’t be enough. “I’m sure we’ll need more as we move beyond the end of October,” she said.
Professor Heneghan argued that Covid-19 is not actually circulating at levels that would be considered an epidemic.
Although government and municipal officials have been haunted by fears that the number of infections will rise to 70 or 100 or even 200 cases per 100,000, Professor Heneghan has toned down the numbers.
He said, “When you talk in terms of family medicine about infections and epidemics – and this is a long-standing number – we are talking about 400 per 100,000 consultations as an epidemic. And those are symptomatic people.
So when you’re talking about 200, 250, you’re still in the same ballpark of a seasonal pathogen.
“The question within those 200 or 250 is how many of them are symptomatic versus asymptomatic. The other question is what impact does it have?
‘For example, I looked at Bolton NHS Trust and saw that there were currently two patients with Covid in the hospital. So I think you start to give context there, instead of just throwing the number.
“And I think now we need more data that will allow people to put the information into context, instead of just seeing a number, thinking it’s going up and then panicking.”
The panic sparked by regularly referenced contamination rates was a sticking point for Professor Heneghan, who repeatedly protested against strict lockdown measures.
He has argued that there will not be a second wave like the first and that people should be able to get on with life as much as possible, while efforts are made to protect vulnerable people such as the elderly.
He focused on the government’s stance on the virus and said people were too scared of the virus to return to normal, especially in schools.
He was referring to a case where a student from Year 13 was thought to have Covid-19 and their entire year group went into isolation before they were even tested.
“ We now have restrictive measures because no one has a strategy, ” he said, adding, “ What’s happening right now is that the language and rhetoric are making people so fearful and terrorized that they go beyond the guidance because they are so be afraid of what’s to come.
“So the rhetoric needs to be reversed, there needs to be a thoughtful discussion now about what exactly the government’s strategy is because I don’t understand it now.”