The current administration has announced a new rule in tandem with the HHS (Health and Human Services) regarding COVID positive patients. Under this new rule, the definition of a COVID patient has changed, and it brings to mind some scary possibilities that could happen in the future. 

As per the new rule, a COVID-positive patient is only entered into the official COVID count if he or she is being treated with either Remdesivir or Dexamethasone, drugs that are used to treat moderate and severe COVID symptoms. Some US states have already implemented this directive regarding the definition of a COVID patient, and this has resultantly caused a huge drop in the number of official COVID patients. Of these states, one that readily comes to mind is New Hampshire, where the Department of Health is now only recording 4% of COVID patients, but the actual number of patients is around 37% of those who have had Covid tests.

However, the Hospital Association pegs this number of patients much higher, as it includes patients who have had COVID in the past but are no longer positive. They remain under treatment for illnesses associated with COVID. The people who are hospitalized with milder symptoms of COVID or for other COVID-related symptoms are no longer included in the official count, even though they take up a bed in the hospital because their illness is too severe for them to be discharged. 

Manipulating the Numbers

If this policy runs on, the gross number of people reported will be highly inaccurate. If you are having symptoms of COVID or are actually down with it, you have to get yourself tested at the nearest test center. Depending on your symptoms and their severity, you will be either diagnosed as a mild COVID patient or a severe COVID patient. On the other hand, if you are not testing at the local test center that has the responsibility o reporting positive cases of COVID, then your positive test is not included in the official count. This will have repercussions. If you require hospitalization because of the symptoms, you have to have treatment with Remdesivir or dexamethasone to count among official COVID cases. 

What happens to those who have mild COVID?

If you are lucky enough to have only mild COVID, then you will be advised to go home and self-isolate. However, this brings about a sense of complacency because you are seeing health workers dismiss your case without counting you as an official COVID case. Take, for example, the prevailing circumstances in the UK, where hospital authorities are sending sick people away because of a shortage of beds. Do you have to be horizontal to be counted as a COVID patient? Sadly the answer is yes. As of two days ago, in the UK, almost every hospital bed across Hampshire, as well as the Isle of Wight, was occupied with sick patients. In excess of 2800 staff workers who are employees of the National Health Services (NHS) reported sick and were absent. More shockingly, almost half of the reported sicknesses absentees were down with COVID. 

NHS leaders both in the Isle of Wight as well as New Hampshire are asking families to accept their loved ones from the hospitals even if they have COVID so that they can free up the hospital beds because of the high demand for beds as well as skyrocketing sickness levels in NHS staff. 

Patients are suddenly being counted as no longer down with COVID but classified as post-COVID because apparently, they were no longer infectious. This is downright silly. These patients did not leave their hospital beds because they were in the ICU. Some of them got incubated during the post COVID period and did not feature on the rolls as incubated COVID patients. 

These developments are of serious concern. Any nation has a responsibility toward its citizens for reporting the exact numbers of COVID patients regardless of whether they have mild or severe symptoms and also regardless of what drug they are on to treat this virus. The case numbers are highly misleading. They are not inflated at all, but on the contrary, they are underreported, and that puts the scanner on the health department. Inaccurate reporting of cases, as has been happening, is a dangerous precedent. A lot of people who have mild COVID will be lulled into complacency because of these new guidelines and , and only time will tell if they go on to infect their immediate circle of family and friends because of this new definition of positive COVID cases. 

Is this a Cover-Up by the Government?

Some people are saying that this new guideline is a deliberate cover-up by the government to reduce the panic associated with COVID infections. Others also say that the government is allowing a preventable disease like COVID to kill hundreds of thousands of people a year so that the elderly, the disabled as well as the immune-compromised section of the population can be culled without anybody pointing fingers at them. While this looks like a conspiracy theory, one cannot afford not to look into it without a measure of concern. A few vociferous persons are also going to the length of calling the US a psychologically unwell country because this new move is bound to backfire sooner or later, and problems do not go away if you just sweep them under the rug.


With these new regulations, the only way you can keep yourself protected is to follow the COVID-appropriate rules of wearing a mask every time you go outside, sanitization of hands and surfaces, and maintaining a fair distance from people you are interacting with if you are unlucky enough to come down with COVID despite taking precautionary measures, self-isolate yourself for the required number of days and stay at home for this time period. If the government is bent on covering up the fallout, it is up to you as a responsible citizen to take the necessary precautions so that you limit the damage as far as possible. 

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