Scientists called today on the Government for an end to publicizing its Covid daily figures as these numbers are misleading and fueling an “unhealthy dependence” to them.

The UK used to have to be vigilant about increasing cases until recently. This indicated a rise in hospital admissions as well as the possibility for more restrictions. Experts now say that the connection between severe illnesses and infections has broken down.

Yesterday’s official coronavirus statistics dashboard revealed that there were 330 deaths, 1,905 hospital admissions, and 19,000 patients infected occupying NHS beds.

The majority of Omicron-infected patients are being treated in the United States, but not in the most populous areas. This is a sign of Omicron’s mild infectiousness and extreme infectivity. Covid patients that require mechanical ventilation have not increased since the beginning of the wave.

Although the number of deaths per day has been on the rise, it is now more likely that they are ‘coincidental’ to the virus and the cause. It was nearly 25% last week. 

Professor Yoon Loke of Norwich Medical School is a medical expert and said that it was now time to stop receiving daily Covid updates as the data became ‘incredibly problematic.

MailOnline spoke to him, saying that the situation is very different from two years ago and even twelve months ago. In those times, we had to stay vigilant in the face of an ever increasing tide of life-threatening diseases. It has been a significant shift in the nature of this beast.

Professor Loke, backed by other experts, said the figures should now be exclusively released every other day and then every week — as is already done for flu in the UK. 

Professor Francis Balloux from University College London, said that part of the recovery process is to stop people being so focused on hospitalisations and case numbers. He said, “We are all a little addicted to it.”

Professor Tim Spector, an epidemiologist at King’s College London, said at the very least the numbers should be published alongside admissions and death rates for other conditions, and compared to previous winters to put them in context.

Also, he warned that the data was being ‘increasingly unstable’ and stated that many who receive a positive test for lateral flow are not registering it with authorities.

However, critics claim that 100,000 new cases are still being reported every day in this country. That is still too many and is far above the level at which people will be able stop thinking about Covid.

Ministers are already working to live with the virus and the rest of ‘Plan B’ plans will be abandoned next week.

Face masks in schools and work from home guidance were officially ditched yesterday, and Boris Johnson says he now plans to drop all Covid curbs by the spring — including the legal requirement to self-isolate after catching the virus.

The above graph shows the proportion of Covid patients in England's hospitals that are not primarily being treated for the virus. Data is from NHS England

This graph displays the percentage of Covid patients not being treated for the disease in England’s hospitals. The data is taken from NHS England

The above graph shows the proportion of Covid patients in hospitals that were not primarily being treated for the virus since Omicron took hold, and is based on figures from NHS England. They showed that in London just four in ten Covid patients are now actually being treated for the disease

This graph, which is based upon NHS England figures, shows how many Covid patients are now being treated in hospitals. These figures showed that just 4 out 10 Covid patients in London are being currently treated.

According to official data, Covid became the fourth-most fatality in England as Omicron decimated the country.

Professor Yoon Loke, a medicine expert at Norwich Medical School, said it was time to abandon the daily Covid updates because the data was becoming 'incredibly problematic'

And Professor Tim Spector, a top epidemiologist at King's College London, said the figures needed to be put 'into context' by comparing them to last year

Professor Yoon Loke (left), an expert in medicine at Norwich Medical School stated that the daily Covid update was too problematic and it was time for them to be discontinued. Prof. Tim Spector from King’s College London is a leading epidemiologist and said that the data needed to be ‘contextualized’ by comparing it to last year.

The above figure shows the proportion of Covid deaths are people who have died from the disease (red) to those who have died with the disease (blue). It shows the proportion dying with the disease is now rising

Above is a comparison of the number of Covid-related deaths. The rising number of those who are dying from this disease shows how it is changing.

Professor Loke is also a consultant physician for Norwich and Norfolk University Hospitals. He said ministers need to stop publishing these figures daily because they are misleading.

MailOnline was informed by him that he believes there is a much smaller number of patients (Covid), who need oxygen management or treatment in the intensive care unit.

SAGE even admits daily doom-laden figures are becoming more difficult to read

SAGE admits that it is becoming increasingly difficult for the Covid numbers to be understood, despite their dire warnings. 

In documents released on Thursday the advisory group — which uses the data in its modelling — called its reliability into question. 

The researchers stated that there was uncertainty regarding the current trend in new infections. This is especially due to changes in testing policies and behavior.

“An increasing number of reported admissions to hospitals are positive tests for people admitted solely for Covid. This is a reflection on the high prevalence in our community.

It is already clear that nearly a quarter (25%) of all Covid deaths were caused by the virus.

In some areas of the country, only 4 out 10 Covid patients actually receive treatment for the disease. The rest are admitted with another condition like a sprained ankle.

The daily statistics may be exaggerated, indicating that there is a current epidemic or heightened concern.

Experts have condemned ministers’ use of scare tactics to the British people.

Many believe it’s time for the Daily Publication of Figures to be moved to the other days and the weekly publication as soon as normalcy returns to the country. 

“We’ve seen patients admitted to hospital with non-Covid-related problems often test positive.

“Equally, patients of older age have severe medical issues and need admission to hospital. They then test positive for Covid even though this is not their primary reason for being there.

“Unfortunately some older patients might succumb to other serious medical issues but were recorded as a Covid related death since they died within 28 day of receiving a positive result.

According to him, the “nature of the beast” had changed. This meant that daily Covid deaths and hospitalisations figures were now incredibly difficult and potentially misleading. 

Professor Loke added: ‘I personally don’t feel the current daily figures can tell us much about serious or life threatening major illness.’

MailOnline asked him if he thought the daily reporting should be scrapped. He replied, “I’d prefer scaling back to Monday, Wednesday and Friday reporting, to begin with. Then to once per week if there is an endemic plateau.”

Tony Brookes from Leicester University is a data scientist in health and statistics. He warned that government should begin publishing daily Covid figures “in context” with other ailments.

He told MailOnline: ‘The numbers are only reliable once they are put into context (by including figures for other diseases). They can be misleading if they don’t tell you what is behind them or in what numbers.

They should put numbers in context.

“You need to explain these numbers, not make the scariest figure.

Brookes explained that the numbers were worrying for Brookes’ elderly mother. She has no experience in dealing with statistics, but is exposed to them each night via TV. Covid made it seem like they were making her feel uneasy, but in reality, it’s ‘about the same as flu.’ 

According to NHS England, less than half of Covid ‘patients” are currently being treated for it in London (40.7%) or East of England (44.9%).

Only half (52.1%) of Covid “patients” are in England right now, and this is primarily due to the virus. In comparison, three quarters of Omicron patients were hospitalized in October prior to the outbreak.

The NHS does not provide a breakdown of the daily number of Covid admissions, which is for those who have the virus most often.

The health system warns that incidental cases can still cause strain to hospital resources as they must be kept separate from other patients. Doctors also warn that Covid may worsen other illnesses, even those not related to the primary one.  

Covid death statistics are also showing this trend. Over the past few weeks, the number of deaths due to coincidental causes has risen. This means that more people are now dying from the virus and less from it.

According to the Office for National Statistics, Covid was fourth in death rates in England and Wales during last month’s report. This is despite unprecedented Omicron infection outbreaks. It’s behind heart disease, dementia and chronic lung disease.

In its Tuesday weekly report, the ONS stated that quarter of all Covid deaths reported in the week up to January 7th were caused by the virus.

Of the 922 deaths in England and Wales where Covid was mentioned on the death certificate, the virus was not ruled to be the primary reason for the death in 210 cases — or 23 per cent — although it may have been a contributory factor. 

Professor Spector is the director of the ZOE Covid Syndrome study, which publishes its results weekly. He said that the daily numbers are ‘almost impossible to comprehend’ because they have been published without context.

MailOnline was informed by him that he believes it is important to place data into context, such as hospitalizations and deaths. He also suggested that we should compare what we see today and previous years. 

Professor Spector warned, in addition to warning that Government case data is becoming ‘increasingly unstable’ due to the fact that people no longer log positive lateral flow test.  

He explained that he had seen an increase in the gap between government data and ZOE data during the past weeks. 

“It’s been fluctuating from day to day. I’d like people to stop using this data for their daily gold standard. It’s not reliable anymore and could be misleading. 

Professor Balloux claimed that figures had become less reliable due to the fact that more people are dying from Covid, rather than from it.

The Daily Telegraph was informed by him that the current numbers looked worse and more terrible than they ought to be.

The upside to this is that they will look great. “I think that we are in a better position than we were in March 2020. In the UK especially, I feel optimistic that we will be able soon to say a good night and we will have our day.” 

He stated that he was not for scrapping dashboard because the cases are high. It might cause panic. But, maybe it could be done soon to make it more frequent (e.g. every other week).

Science is supportive of the Government’s publishing daily updates. But, it must make sure they don’t ‘frighten’ anyone with numbers. 

Dr Al Edwards, a  biomedical technology expert at Reading University, said a ‘much better option’ than removing the data from the public domain would be to keep publishing it but alongside other figures.

MailOnline was informed by him that the current dashboard needed some context and analysis to understand its numbers.

“We need to celebrate open data sharing and make it transparent, but we must also explain the meaning of data more clearly.

A weekly report is published by the UK Health Security Agency on Covid cases in the country, along with figures for other diseases like flu or RSV. 

A stagnant hospital admission rate and a growing gap between infection and death has given Prime Minister confidence in lifting Plan B restrictions for next week.

Johnson revealed that he will be abolishing all Covid laws in the spring. This includes compulsory isolation for Covid cases. Today’s official abandonment of WFH guidance, and the use of masks in schools was the first step.

Sajid Javid, Doubling Down on the Government’s Decision to Scrap the Curbs, indicated that Ministers will tolerate over 20,000 Covid deaths per year and not impose any measures. 

Yesterday, Mr Javid, Health Secretary, said to Sky News: “We have to learn how to deal with it.” Sadly people die of flu as well. A bad flu season can result in around 20,000 deaths.

“But, we don’t close down the entire country or put up lots of restrictions in order to manage it. It is important that we continue our lives using sensible, proportionate and appropriate measures.

He said, “Covid will not go away.” It will be here for many, many years. Perhaps forever. We have to learn how to deal with it.