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The latest bugaboo

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2022

* The far right is making a big deal out of this. The headline above this Fox News story was “Almost half of reported NY COVID-19 hospitalizations are not due to COVID-19″

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul released data Friday breaking down COVID-19 hospitalizations by those who were admitted due to the virus and those who were admitted for other reasons but were found to have the illness.

Included in the data was a chart showing “how many hospitalized individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 were admitted for COVID-19/COVID-19 complications and how many were admitted for non-COVID-19 conditions.”

* And, of course, one of the state’s most vocal anti-anti-covid legislators says Illinois ought to break out those numbers, too and an outlet which provides free content to Illinois newspapers jumped right in

Illinois state Rep. Adam Niemerg, R-Dieterich, said Illinois public health officials must follow suit.

“It’s so important and without factual, real data, it’s very difficult to put an actionable plan in place,” Niemerg told WMAY. […]

Niemerg said such context should help inform public policy. He wants more emphasis on what kinds of therapies are available for those that are unvaccinated who get COVID-19 and those who are vaccinated and get a breakthrough COVID-19 positive.

So, he thinks he’s running a hospital now? Look, legislating is a slow process. By the time they pass a bill, a different variant will be upon us. In the meantime, maybe he could volunteer at a hospital to help ease the burden

Especially hard hit is southern Illinois, where just two of its 80 intensive care unit beds were available Sunday night.

* Also this

“We have a lot of chronically ill people in the U.S., and it’s like all of those people are now coming into the hospital at the same time,” said Vineet Arora, [Dean for Medical Education of the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division]. “Some of it is for COVID, and some is with COVID, but it’s all COVID. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter.” (COVID patients also need to be isolated, which increases the burden on hospitals regardless of the severity of patients’ symptoms.)


* Ben Bradley at WGN

NorthShore University Health System told WGN Investigates only 19 of their 141 COVID-19 positive patients at four north suburban hospitals last week were being treated for an ailment other than COVID-19.

Rush University Health System does not differentiate patients being treated “with” COVID-19 or “because” of COVID-19 because it can be difficult to classify the root cause of a patient’s ailment – or a virus that may complicate their recovery.

“Many patients have several serious conditions –a co-morbidity – that exacerbate the other so it’s hard to say which one is the reason they need to be hospitalized,” said Rush spokesperson Charles Jolie.

IDPH reports 43% of in-use intensive care beds are occupied by a patient with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. Regardless of the reason a person was initially hospitalized, medical experts have said COVID-19 is particularly dangerous for people with weakened immune systems and those battling other ailments.

* I asked the administration to respond to Rep. Niemurg…

In the middle of a surge that is pushing hospital staff to the brink it would not serve a useful purpose to require hospitals to report distinctions in their data that do not impact day to day management of the pandemic. The important metric public health experts watch is hospital capacity, and right now hospital beds are in short supply regardless of what illness sends a patient to the hospital. We need to focus on proven strategies that prevent the spread of the virus, therefore reducing the number of patients who end up in hospitals across the state.

* Related…

* As an E.R. Doctor, I Fear Health Care Collapse More Than Omicron: Collective actions over the coming weeks — the distribution and use of high-quality masks, staying home if not feeling well and getting vaccinated or a booster if eligible — could help prevent hospitals and health care workers from sliding into crisis. It’s not March 2020. But it shouldn’t have to be for us to take this seriously.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Steve Rogers - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 10:14 am:

    —“It’s so important and without factual, real data, it’s very difficult to put an actionable plan in place,” Niemerg told WMAY.—

    The real data is there, you choose not to believe it because it doesn’t fit your narrative.

  2. - Blue Dog - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 10:18 am:

    Heading to St. Loo for some surgery on Thursday. I’ll give you an update on conditions on Friday. Nothing serious, but so far it hasn’t been cancelled.

  3. - Jocko - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 10:19 am:

    Fred Rogers once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

    Representative Niemberg, you’re not helping.

  4. - phenom_Anon - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 10:20 am:

    The “with” versus “for” differentiation is useful if you’re trying to get a gauge on how serious the current wave or variant specifically is affecting people, how sick it is making them.

    But if you’re managing the state’s response, hospital capacity is a big part of that, and both “for” and “with” involve most of the same precautions and rules when in the hospital.

    So to me, in terms of managing the response, the differentiation doesn’t matter. The immunologists and epidemiologists are the only ones who really need the differentiation data, and they already have it.

    The only people in the public sphere who “need” the differentiated data are people who are in actuality only trying to use it to argue against mitigations. So I lean with Pritzker here and say don’t feed the enemy with data that they’ll only misuse.

  5. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 10:23 am:

    = So, he thinks he’s running a hospital now? =

    Why not? We’ve watched Scentsy reps suddenly become infectious disease experts on social media. Perhaps he feels left out that he hasn’t been able to pretend he is an expert at hospital administration.

    There’s certainly no shortage of other people pretending to be experts in hospital administration on facebook. In fact, it’s been quite noticeable how many people immediately pivoted to being hospital administrators from infections disease researchers. They even know exactly how many people were fired for refusing vaccines, as I’ve seen claims that the hospital overcrowding is actually because half of the nurses were fired for refusing the vaccine.

    In the land of I’m-an-expert-in-everything, the actual experts are left on the sidelines and drowned out by the noise.

  6. - Annonin' - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 10:24 am:

    Is Niemerg trying to prove he is dumber than Caulkins?

  7. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 10:25 am:

    This is largely a distinction with no difference. If someone is having heart palpitations whether those are caused or made worse by Covid-19–who cares?

    ==Niemerg said such context should help inform public policy. He wants more emphasis on what kinds of therapies are available for those that are unvaccinated who get COVID-19

    Other than people who cannot take the vaccine for medical reasons or it is ineffective due to someone being immunocompromised this should be a null set.

    What is a state legislator going to do to increase therapies during a pandemic? There isn’t a NIH at the state level.

    –those who are vaccinated and get a breakthrough COVID-19 positive.

    Mostly those are mild and if everyone is vaccinated we have the treatments, just not enough for the folks who won’t get vaccinated.

  8. - tea_and_honey - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 10:25 am:

    “With” COVID and “for” COVID is a distinction without a difference when it comes to the lack of available staffed hospital beds.

  9. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 10:27 am:

    ===eading to St. Loo for some surgery on Thursday.

    Good luck and hope it goes well. Having just spent a lot of time in a hospital, have visitors take a water bottle and an n95. The water fountains are largely off and Covid rooms are often next to non-Covid rooms so be cautious.

  10. - 33rd ward - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 10:31 am:

    Between Trump’s inauguration, the 2020 election, and hospital admissions, it’s become painfully obvious that Republicans can’t do math.

  11. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 10:31 am:

    if you don’t have kids in public school you can kinda laugh at the non education folks weighing in on what should be taught/read etc. the distance from that to an effect on society is longer than the immediate nonsense. but non health care professionals weighing into health care topics, especially contagious diseases, that affects one’s ability to access an ER in case of a car accident. way past tired of the arm chair health care talk from folks. it’s not helping.

  12. - illinifan - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 10:32 am:

    If factual data is broken down to the smallest level, Niemberg will choose to either argue the data or ignore it and choose to create alternative “data”. Breaking things down further will not help. Medical personnel treat the problem as it presents. So if a patient has COVID and that virus causes blood clots, the doctors treat the blood clots. If a patient has a heart attack and also has COVID the doctors will treat the heart but also ensure extra isolation and monitoring to ensure COVID does create additional issues such as clots. It does not matter which came first they treat as issues arise. COVID is a a multi-system virus (like many viruses) and treatment winds up being like whack-a-mole as problems present differently based on a persons health status.

  13. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 10:37 am:

    === The latest bugaboo ===

    Well, TBH, the “Natural Immunity” thing was a fizzle.

  14. - Club J - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 10:38 am:

    Steve makes a good point. I listened to that interview with Niemerg and Bishop. They both kept pushing this for COVID and with COVID narrative. Which is the same topic both Tom DeVore and the Edgar County Watchdogs were harping on last week. So he just joined the anti-vax anti-Governor choir.

    Niemerg also went on this rant about masking children. How difficult it was for fathers dropping off their kids at school and having to fumble around for a mask before they got out of the car. Wouldn’t you have that all prepared before leaving the house Dad? You have their shirt and shoes on them.

  15. - Smalls - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 10:40 am:

    When a hospital that normally has a patient population of 100 now has 200 patients, it doesn’t matter if it is “with” or “for.” The hospitals are overwhelmed regardless.

  16. - Jibba - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 10:44 am:

    Good thoughts to you, BD.

    ==it would not serve a useful purpose to require hospitals to report distinctions in their data that do not impact day to day management of the pandemic==

    This. In the end it does not matter other than to those who want to deny that covid exists or hurts anyone. I’m done dealing with their parsing nonsense.

  17. - thoughts matter - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 10:44 am:

    Regardless of the ‘with’ or ‘for’, the number of people in the hospital being treated by staff dealing with covid protocols had increased substantially. That’s what’s important. That increase is not due to a significant increase in patients coming to the hospital for elective procedures. Because those are being cancelled left and right. So it stands to reason that the number of people coming to the hospital for covid is greater than the number of people coming with it, and not being affected physically by having it.

  18. - CJA - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 10:45 am:

    Seems to me that seeking medical attention because I have Covid is different from going to the hospital for something else and…oops…finding out I am asymptomatic — which doesn’t require treatment. The core issue here is making sure if we are saying that Covid is driving hospitalizations, we should have a clearer picture of how hard that is driving them. Not to say that once in the hospital that the steps taken to contain the spread and the staffing stress isn’t just as important. You can break out the numbers without to get a more accurate profile while still being very aware of the problems this virus has put on the healthcare system and our communities. That’s all.

  19. - CJA - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 10:47 am:

    == You can break out the numbers to get a more accurate profile while still being very aware of the problems this virus has put on the healthcare system and our communities==

    forgot to delete “without”

  20. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 10:52 am:

    Shorter version of this Fox-driven bugaboo:

    “They was dying anyway.”

  21. - Norseman - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 10:55 am:

    === heading to St. Loo for some surgery on Thursday.
    Good luck and hope it goes well.

    Ditto. I don’t know what hospital you’re going to, but the system I use has sent notice that optional surgeries are being postponed.

  22. - thoughts matter - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 10:57 am:

    An addendum to my own post above. Is the following example with or for covid? A patients goes to the hospital and is admitted because his kidneys are failing. He tests positive for covid after admittance. Kidney failure is a complication of covid. Is he there for covid or with covid? Replace kidney failure with any of the numerous complications of covid and you can see why with or for might be a moot question.

  23. - LakeCo - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 10:57 am:

    Ah, someone made a comment on one of yesterday’s posts about “we should be tallying the number of people who came in to the hospital with something else”. I thought it sounded off. I should have figured it was a right-wing talking point.

  24. - Captain Who - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 11:01 am:


    Also, what exactly does the term “Covid related issues” mean when Covid hospitalizations are reported in the media? By the way, I am not an anti-vaxxer as I am fully vaccinated and boosted.

  25. - Streator Curmudgeon - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 11:01 am:

    The vax-dodgers continue to look for excuses to justify their irresponsibility. If they had gotten the jab when the rest of us did, the pandemic might have been over by now.

  26. - Captain Who - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 11:02 am:

    My exactly comment was referring to what CJA said at 10:45. My copy/paste didn’t seem to work. My apologies.

  27. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 11:03 am:

    Would many people with pre-existing conditions be in the hospital or dead without COVID? They would not. Many otherwise chronically ill people would still be in life, if not for COVID. The anti-vax/mitigation pushers look for any angle to evade facts.

    Those facts include complete vaccination (shots plus boosters) working best to mitigate serious illness and death. There is no spinning out of it. The evidence is overwhelming.

    Never before have we dealt with a pandemic and magnitude of disinformation. That is the challenge we face, and we must meet it head-on.

  28. - Dysfunction Junction - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 11:12 am:

    ==Shorter version of this Fox-driven bugaboo: “They was dying anyway.” ==

    My unvaccinated godfather died in a suburban hospital yesterday morning. Half of his six kids say the cause was Covid pneumonia. The other half are saying their dad had a heart condition and basically “he was dying anyway.” Personally, I’m less interested in which group is right and more concerned that his wife (my Fox-watching godmother) might come down with one of those two ailments in the next few weeks.

  29. - Norseman - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 11:13 am:

    One of the worst ramifications of the politicization of the pandemic by the GOP has been the damage that it has done to our public health and medical systems. Politicians playing to the narcissistic worst of our society are adopting crazy laws that will continue to cause needless death and illness for years to come.

    In Missouri, COVID is no longer an emergency even though its hospitals are drowning in patients. One local health department has basically thrown up its hands and quit trying given the political restraints put on it by the morally corrupt GOP.

  30. - Captain Who - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 11:20 am:

    To those people that say someone “would have died anyway”, let me remind you that we all will eventually.

  31. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 11:21 am:

    Sorry to hear that DJ. I wasn’t trying to be callous. I was quoting a Jasper County official from 2020. Story here:

    And does anyone else find it ironic that Republicans like Neimerg repeatedly opposed providing a national healthcare plan that covers everyone regardless of preexisting conditions? I mean, how many times has the GOP voted to repeal or condemn the ACA? Why do they hate sick people and the professionals who care for them?

  32. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 11:22 am:

    ===that we all will eventually.===

    Dying of utter ignorance or stupidity.

    “You first”

    (Banned word)

  33. - Captain Who - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 11:35 am:

    “You first”

    Have you ever heard of sarcasm? Gee whiz.

  34. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 11:37 am:

    It’s really been concerning to the extent at which the GOP has been pretending that the legislature should be micromanaging our society’s response to the pandemic. It sort of goes to show a real dramatic misunderstanding of the role of the legislature vs the executive in our modern Democratic societies, but even the ancient Romans had a consul.

    I wish that these GOP legislators could better understand that they are personally contributing to a deadly pandemic where people are dying because of how they are behaving.

  35. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 11:45 am:

    Rockford hospitals announced this morning that they have no Er or ICU beds available. Stay healthy folks.

  36. - Banish Misfortune - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 11:55 am:

    Covid is doing something to the character of too many of us. I find myself with lack of compassion toward those who die of covid because this is largely preventable and is now a disease of the unvaccinated while the anti vaxxers say “we will all die of something”.

  37. - ITEngineer - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 12:09 pm:

    I thought making increased reporting demands put a “undue burden on companies” and “stifled innovation”. Republicans could always take some of their own advice and just “Pass a Law” to get this done.

  38. - supplied_demand - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 12:21 pm:

    Sounds like a proposal for more government regulation. Is that a good thing now?

  39. - Pundent - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 1:18 pm:

    As the pandemic continues to do what pandemics do, the response from Niemerg and others becomes increasingly more ludicrous to support the narrative that things aren’t that bad. Acknowledging reality would be easier than constantly tying yourself in knots of denial.

  40. - Dysfunction Junction - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 1:36 pm:

    No worries, 47th. No offense taken. Sentiments like that of the Jasper County official and the Lt. Governor of Texas (”there are more important things than living”) are a big part of the reason we’re in this mess.

  41. - Roadrager - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 1:59 pm:

    I’m reminded of early on in this pandemic, when some self-appointed experts took their first looks ever at a county medical examiner’s death report listing and declared that most people weren’t actually dying of COVID, they were dying of other things, you can see them listed right there. Because if somebody gets shot and killed, but they also have Type II Diabetes, well you can’t conclusively say the bullet did them in.

  42. - zatoichi - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 3:17 pm:

    I spent some time in an inpatient rehab unit about a year ago. Every day 3 meals came and another person swept the room/cleaned bathrooms. A little chit chat and they quickly moved to the next patient/room. No covid issues at that time. Now covid comes and (in addition to their regular meals/cleaning tasks)those same staff need to follow infection control precautions before entering and leaving every room. Those precautions significantly the time spent at each meal and cleaning. Multiply that by the extra time required for RNs,clinical staff, and anyone entering a room doing the precautions. Just passing meds takes more time. It quickly creates a time crunch particularly when more staff are off the job due to quarantine/illness. Without covid the additional infection precautions would not be in place at the levels they are today. Does ‘because of/came with covid’ really matter? The statistic difference does not the change the required direct staff actions.

  43. - Proud Sucker - Tuesday, Jan 11, 22 @ 6:35 pm:

    “Those precautions significantly the time spent at each meal and cleaning.”

    This, precisely. To properly doff and don PPE adds 10 to 15 minutes to each task.

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