Monday, January 17, 2022

What Are The Hospitals Doing?

 As a childhood connoisseur of hospitalization for respiratory and digestive tract issues, I've begun to wonder about the recent round of hospitalizations for the Wuhan Flu. Consider these:

  • The thing is a virus, so you don't treat it with massive doses of antibiotics.
  • The patients aren't struggling to keep things down, so they could force fluids orally, at home.
  • Being in a hospital bed sucks. It's not restful. You'd get better rest at home, in your own bed, watching Claude Rains movies or playing Bubble Blast 2.

So just what is the hospital providing? Why are they so impacted with patients for the Omnicorn round? It's an upper respiratory virus which means it's not life-threatening like pneumonia.

In the comments, Tim makes a typically cogent point. "The COVID makes them susceptible to pneumonia, and then the pneumonia is what finishes things. It looks like the dominant forms of pneumonia are the bacterial forms, which most certainly are treated with antibiotics." That would explain the hospitalizations, at least in some cases.

Here's my hypothesis. Thanks to media and government hysteria, many people, perhaps most, are in a state WuFlu paranoia*. That's produced a strong bias towards testing and going to the hospital. Once you arrive at the hospital, malpractice insurance gives them a strong bias towards admission. If they send you home and you croak, they could face lawsuits. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I'm coming at this from a layman's point of view, but I just can't see what good it does to go to the hospital with Omnicorn.

Bonus Thoughts Which Contradict My Original Thoughts**

So how about this: The massive, localized jumps in hospitalizations are due to a combination of Chinese math infection rates and lost staffing due to infections. Omnicorn's most endearing feature is its short, sharp infection spike. That is, it infects a ton of people all at once, but only for a short period of time. A very small percentage of a large number of people, i.e. a small subset requiring hospitalization of a huge number of infected, is enough to wipe out the safety margin of hospital beds.

Add to that a significant number of nurses and doctors out of action due to their own Omnicorn cases and you get a perfect, if very temporary storm.

I think my original analysis was wrong. It's not paranoia plus lawsuits, it's simply Omnicorn doing what it does best - infect everyone, all at once.

* - Yes, the thing can be very dangerous, but only to a very well-defined subset of the population. 

** - Remember, this blog is here to work through ideas, not defend bad ones.


tim eisele said...

I'm sure it varies a lot from hospital to hospital. The ones that are not over-filled might be bringing in people who don't actually need to be there just because they have COVID, but I expect the hospitals that are full to the gills aren't bringing them in until they are in pretty bad shape.

I was just talking to my niece on the phone last night, who is a nurse, and it sounds like her hospital is only admitting people who are at death's door and need to be put on a ventilator. They are massively understaffed even so. She works in the cardiac ward, but their nurses are constantly being poached by the infectious disease ward.

And I just heard this morning that an old friend is currently hospitalized with COVID that transitioned to pneumonia. He is on a ventilator, and in a medically-induced coma. Based on that table of comorbidities that you linked to a while back, it is that transition to pneumonia that is putting people in the hospital. The COVID makes them susceptible to pneumonia, and then the pneumonia is what finishes things. It looks like the dominant forms of pneumonia are the bacterial forms, which most certainly are treated with antibiotics.

And arguing that COVID is just "an upper respiratory virus which means it's not life-threatening", and that they are distinct from "pneumonia cases", reminds me of the exchange from Arsenic and Old Lace:

Dr. Einstein: "You cannot count the one from South Bend. He died of pneumonia!"
Jonathan Brewster: "He wouldn't have died of pneumonia if I hadn't shot him!"

[Up until recently, I've gotten through most of this without anyone I know well getting seriously sick or dying of it. I think the Upper Peninsula was relatively lightly-hit due to its sparse population. But in the last week, one friend's son-in-law died, and another friend is at death's door, and a lot of people are testing positive all of a sudden. I think this might be the proverbial "it".]

K T Cat said...

Thanks for the anecdotes. They parallel what our friends who are nurses say. Still, dig this data from Indiana. Check out the part about ventilators.

Another question: I hear a lot of the problem is understaffing. Are these places that sent home the unvaxxed? Is it that Omnicorn is taking out the nursing population at the same time as the peak rush period? Probably a combination of the two.

Then there is the issue of the lack of deaths. Deaths / infected person are way down.

My only explanation is that Omnicorn's most endearing feature is its crazy infection graph. Super high and super short. That means we will all get it, we will all get natural immunity, but the peak will overwhelm the hospitals because of Chinese math. You know, the old saying, "If we could just sell our product to 0.1% of the Chinese market ..."

That's not something you can say in mixed company, however. Enough people are getting whacked that shrugging and saying, "Good. It will all be over much sooner" isn't going to get you and the missus invited back over to the Johnson's for dinner in the near future.

K T Cat said...

As for friends who have died or who have close relatives who have died, we've had several, but we run with an older crowd. It's when the young ones die that shock you.

K T Cat said...

"The COVID makes them susceptible to pneumonia, and then the pneumonia is what finishes things. It looks like the dominant forms of pneumonia are the bacterial forms, which most certainly are treated with antibiotics." - Great point. That would explain things quite nicely.

Finally, I hope, check out the covidestim site, specifically the reproduction rate. It looks like almost every state is on the way down.

I'm sorry to hear about your old friend being ill. I hope (s)he gets better soon.

WC Varones said...

There's also a lot of people in the hospital for other stuff who just test positive for Covid while they're in there.