ICU Occupancy in English Hospitals No Higher Than Last Year

The BBC are repeatedly running scare stories about NHS hospitals being overrun. These stories, often lead on the six o'clock news, are really unedited press releases from NHS England. The BBC don't bother to investigate these claims, they merely take the copy and read it out aloud.

We are supposed to believe that NHS hospitals are on the brink of collapse due to the surge in Coronavirus patients. We are supposed to accept this as undeniable fact, and millions do. But this isn't the fact. The facts, never reported by the mainstream media only anecdotes, tell a very different story.

If you look at ICU occupancy in NHS hospitals across England on December 20th it was lower than the December average in 2019 in most of the country – and it’s worth remembering that the 2019-20 flu season was unusually mild.

Admittedly, the total number of ICU beds occupied in London on Dec 20th was quite a bit higher than the average for December 2019, but according to the ZOE app daily symptomatic cases in London are falling. The ZOE data in the graph below shows rising and falling daily symptomatic cases up to December 27th.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that there are more ICU beds this year than last year, so if you calculate the percentage of ICU beds occupied in NHS hospitals across England and compare that to the average percentage in December 2019 the picture looks even less bleak. In every region, including London, the percentage of ICU beds occupied at the moment is lower than it was this time last year.

Here is the breakdown of figures:

East: Dec 2019 average: 76.3% - Dec 20th 2020: 74.0%

London: Dec 2019 average: 88.7% - Dec 20th 2020: 86.3%

Midlands: Dec 2019 average: 82.2%. - Dec 20th 2020: 67.0%

North East and Yorkshire: Dec 2019 average: 78.4% - Dec 20th 2020: 69.8%

North West: Dec 2019 average: 82.6% - Dec 20th 2020: 68.7%

South East: Dec 2019 average: 83.7% - Dec 20th 2020: 75.4%

South West: Dec 2019 average: 79.5% - Dec 20th 2020: 73.3%

If they the NHS is under stress then the assumption that it is Coronavirus is going to be very difficult to shift, for many in the NHS Coronavirus is causing the worse case of the Baader-Meinhof Effect we've ever seen. The reason for the crisis, if indeed there is