Excess all-cause mortality in New Zealand is running at record levels. About 100 people are dying each day in New Zealand (pop. 5 million). A few times during the last couple of months we have asked a key question: what are people dying of?
Ministry of Health data records that about 7 people are dying each day with Covid, but only about a maximum of 3 of these per day because of Covid. That is just 3% of deaths. Occupancy of ICU beds with Covid hovers around 3-5%.
Therefore it is not Covid that is overwhelming our hospitals, so what is?
The Ministry of Health and mainstream media have been talking vaguely about a bad flu season but a quick check of the FluTracking website reveals that the 2022 flu season is not even as bad as 2019.
My plumber called in on a job last week and complained about staff falling ill continuously. Sick leave among teachers is up by 80%. The newspapers are also reporting kiwi businesses are closing because of staff shortages exacerbated by ‘winter illness’, but as the incidence flu is not that high what could be going on?
An in depth article in Stuff this morning contains an important hint:
Te Whatu Ora Taranaki hospital emergency department clinical nurse manager Therese Manning said, while there had not been much change to the number of presentations to ED in the last five years, the acuity of the patients is higher.
“This means we are seeing patients presenting with more severe illnesses and injuries…So there are more patients that need to be seen within 10 minutes of arriving….This demonstrates patients are more unwell and therefore likely to stay in hospital longer”.
Acute presentations at ED are increasing, but what are they ill with? We aren’t being told and may never be if our health czars are allowed to continue to deny access to information.