Sunday, 12 April 2020

Yes, that's nineteen individual tragedies, but,,,

From the BBC:

Thousands of people in the UK have now died with coronavirus, including doctors, nurses, surgeons and other NHS workers.

The government has said 19 NHS workers have died so far, with doctors who came out of retirement among those who have lost their lives...

In the general spirit of being factually correct yet controversial...

Total coronavirus-related deaths in the UK so far, 9,875.

About ninety per cent of deaths were people over retirement age, and ten per cent were people of working age (from here, other sources say much the same thing).

So we'd expect to have had about 988 deaths among working age population.

Total working age population (18 to 67) 42 million

988 deaths ÷ 42 million = 24 deaths per million.

Total number employed by NHS = 1.5 million

1.5 million x 23/million = 36.

We could adjust that up or down for various things, for example:

- Just because somebody in the NHS catches it, it doesn't mean they caught it "in the line of duty". They might have been infected by family or friends, caught it on public transport or from a colleague.

- We could refine the exercise if we could split the 24 deaths/million into three categories by relative risk (highest to lowest)
a. "people with underlying health conditions who are too unwell to be in work anyway"
b. "people who are healthy enough to go to work and are still working"
c. "people who are healthy enough to go to work and are staying at home"

- Not all NHS staff are frontline (don't come into contact with patients or general public), so perhaps we should multiply by 1 million, not 1.5 million.

But this would all be guesswork, so let's leave our prediction at 36, which is twice as much as actual 19. I doubt whether the death rate for NHS workers is significantly higher than for everybody else in the category "people who are healthy enough to go to work and are still working". One thing we do know is that the death rate for NHS workers is a lot lower than for London bus drivers.
Clearly, the NHS senior people have failed their front line staff (and the general public) very badly. It appears that they never bothered with a contingency plan for such diseases, which come along every ten years or so. And every health minister for the past twenty years should be grilled on why they never thought to ask whether the NHS had such plans. The lot of them should be sent into exile. You can't just blame it all on the current incumbent.

The front line staff have my every sympathy and I do not envy them. But, they should be aware that the number of NHS people who have died with coronavirus (so far) is not surprisingly large and appears to be half that of the general working age population.


Rational Anarchist said...

What complicates things is that the vast majority of working age deaths have been of people who have severe health issues already. I've not seen a breakdown for how many of them were actually capable of working, which could change the numbers.

Mark Wadsworth said...

RA, yes, that is a big caveat.

Bayard said...

It would be interesting to know, given that this is a respiratory disease, how many of the people who have died were, or had been, smokers.

I am surprised that the Puritans and Bansturbators have not jumped on this one already. Perhaps it's Just Not Done to criticise the noble martyrs.

ThomasBHall said...

Actually, we do have a large contingency reserve of PPE- my sister work as part of the NHS response team. Apparently the problem was staff nicking it and using it inappropriately (and wasting it).

Nessimmersion said...

You are very unlikely to see any reference to the reasearch so far on smoking and COVID
The evidence doe not fit with the PHE/WHO agenda, showing a protective effect, so it will be unpersoned.
(After all PHE has a budget of 4.5 billion that could be spent on preparation for public health events but if they let the public be aware of pesky facts that would interfere with spending it on woke agendas)

Sobers said...

"his would give a lower expected number of deaths for NHS workers (who we assume are "healthy")."

Have you seen the size of NHS staff?

L fairfax said...

I would say after visiting a hospital that NHS staff don't seem to be that healthy.

Mark Wadsworth said...

TBH, are they complaining about lack of PPE for the fun of it?

B and N, I looked at posts which N linked to, looked at the stats and it appears that being a smoker makes little difference either way, if truth be told.

S and LF, I mean "on average, NHS workers are as healthy or as unhealthy as anybody else". Not "healthy" in the absolute sense of being an Olympic level athlete.

Bayard said...

TBH, you may not be aware that PPE goes out of date and has to be rotated regularly, I wasn't. It's no good having large stocks if they are all past their "use by" date. That would probably account for the "pilfering" and "wastage" too, it was stuff that would have been thrown away, otherwise.

Nessimmersion said...

Please see link below and latest from Rod liddle as well.

Suggest you consider PHE as rent seekers as an intellectual challenge.

Mark Wadsworth said...

N, the studies etc in that article seem a lot more convincing. I'm quite happy to accept that smoking can make you less liable to infection, but I'm not sure it's really relevant.

PHE are complete scum, most of what they say is propaganda, but I don't automatically assume that everything they say is precisely the opposite of the truth. Like Donald Trump, occasionally what they say is actually correct.