COVID-19 Hospital Mortality

Warning: Discussing death is difficult, and if you feel you will be offended by this discussion, please don’t read any further.

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Yesterday, I concluded that the mortality of UK COVID-19  patients entering hospital i.e. people already seriously ill with COVID-19, was roughly 25%. I was shocked at this large figure.

Sadly, after further investigation it appears to be increasingly plausible.

UK hospital deaths versus age

UK Government data is available in a spreadsheet downloadable from a link on the COVID-19 ‘Dashboard’

The data show the age ranges of people who have died from COVID-19 in hospital. The age ranges are rather broad but I have taken the liberty of drawing a smooth line through the data points.Slide4Based on this data (and also shown on the graph) is my calculation of the average age of people dying in UK hospitals from COVID-19: it is approximately 74 years of age.

However this data does not tell us how many people in these age ranges were admitted to hospital, so we cannot calculate the mortality.

 

US hospital mortality versus age

The Washington Post has an article which includes data on COVID-19 mortality in US hospitals admissions versus age. The data is based on the admission of 6479 patients since 1st March 2020.  I have re-plotted the data below.

Slide5

This mortality is for US hospitals, rather than UK hospitals, but assuming that treatment is similar, then we can look at the expected mortality for patients at the average age of death of UK patients. This is shown below below with a red horizontal line indicating 25% mortality.

Slide6

This data seems self-consistent.

  • The relationship between UK daily cases and UK daily deaths that I discussed yesterday seems to indicate that mortality is around 25%.
  •  US mortality data shows that at the average of UK deaths, mortality for hospital admissions is 25%.

Ideally we would also like to know the ages of UK patients at admission, but I could not find that data.

Discussion

Notice that this only concerns patients who are admitted to hospital i.e. patients who are already poorly and who have generally been suffering at home. Most people recover at home without needing medical care.

But even so, I have again been saddened by this result which makes it less likely that yesterday’s analysis was in error.

This support gives increased confidence to the prediction  that the number of daily deaths for the next 7 days is unlikely to fall significantly, because these deaths correspond to people who have already been admitted to hospital.

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As I mentioned, discussing death is difficult, and if you have been offended by this discussion, I apologise. The reason I have written this is that I feel it is important that we all try to understand what is happening.

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7 Responses to “COVID-19 Hospital Mortality”

  1. Nick Day Says:

    Very glad to hear life is good for you, Michael.

    Today’s BBC news report says “The number of UK cases is not accelerating”. I wonder what they think that means, exactly. How could the number of cases itself accelerate? It is clearly increasing but at a relatively constant daily rate.

  2. protonsforbreakfast Says:

    Nice to hear from you. Yes, there is a good deal of confusion about the numbers in the media. They seem to find it especially hard to simultaneously communicate that (a) there are 600,000 deaths in a normal year and so this is a small scale perturbation (b) the success if that millions of deaths have been averted and (c) each death is a loss.

    Best wishes to you

    Michael

  3. abc Says:

    I have started thinking that the media do not want to put numbers in context, otherwise people may not respect the lockdown, which could then increase the pressure on NHS.

    • protonsforbreakfast Says:

      Yes, there is also a fascination with how bad things are. It is sadly true that media in general ‘like’ bad news.

  4. COVID-19: Day 107: I am concerned | Protons for Breakfast Blog Says:

    […] Making sense of science « COVID-19 Hospital Mortality […]

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    […] This is a short update from my previous posts (1, 2, 3). […]

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    […] my previous posts (1, 2, 3), I have been predicting the number of hospital deaths one week ahead of time by reasoning that […]

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