A newly released study reported by the left-leaning magazine the Atlantic found that nearly half of the patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in 2021 may not have been admitted for the virus or had mild symptoms or were asymptomatic.
The researchers from Harvard Medical School, Tufts Medical Center and the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System examined electronic records for nearly 50,000 COVID hospital admissions at more than 100 VA hospitals nationwide, said the Federalist in a report on the article.
The findings have significant public-policy implications affecting entities such as schools and businesses, noted one of the study’s co-authors, Dr. Shira Doron.
“As we look to shift from cases to hospitalizations as a metric to drive policy and assess level of risk to a community or state or country, we should refine the definition of hospitalization,” she said.
“Those patients who are there with, rather than from, COVID don’t belong in the metric.”
The Atlantic author, David Zweig, explained that the researchers “checked to see whether each patient required supplemental oxygen or had a blood oxygen level below 94 percent.” If either condition was met, the researchers classified the patient as having moderate to severe disease. Otherwise the case was considered mild or asymptomatic.
The study found that from mid-January through the end of June 2021, 48% of the hospitalized patients showing up on COVID-data dashboards may have been admitted for another reason entirely. Or they had only a mild presentation of disease.
Zweig wrote that the study “suggests that COVID hospitalization tallies can’t be taken as a simple measure of the prevalence of severe or even moderate disease, because they might inflate the true numbers by a factor of two.”
Earlier this month, Zweig wrote an article for The Atlantic presenting evidence that school children should not be required to wear a mask. His piece prompted angry Twitter users who didn’t expect such reporting from the magazine to flag it for misinformation and call for a retraction.
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