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Two-thirds of new Covid hospital patients in England only tested positive AFTER being admitted for a different illness


Two-thirds of new Covid hospital patients in England were actually admitted for a different ailment, analysis of NHS data suggests - as a growing number of studies show Omicron is much milder than Delta.

In the two weeks to December 21, hospitals in England recorded 563 new coronavirus inpatients — the majority of which are believed to be Omicron.

But just 197 (35 per cent) were being primarily treated for Covid, with the remaining 366 (65 per cent) only testing positive after being admitted for something else.

Officials are reported to be considering a national two-week 'circuit breaker' lockdown after Christmas if London's daily admissions breach 400 this week.

The rising number of so-called 'incidental cases' - people who are only diagnosed with the virus after going to the NHS for a different ailment - is in line with the picture in South Africa.

Studies in the epicentre Gauteng province have shown up to three-quarters of Omicron patients there were not admitted primarily for the virus.

With so much stock being placed on numbers of Covid patients, there have - rightly - been growing calls for the Government to distinguish between people admitted to hospital who happen to have Covid and those admitted because of Covid- to get a clearer picture of the demands the virus itself is putting on the health service.