In the UK there has been a continuing narrative of playing down the risks of COVID-19 to children. How many times have we heard...
If those in positions of power, who these quotes come from, believe this to be true, why not release the data to support these claims? The graph below suggests otherwise...
PIMS-TS numbers have been occasionally mentioned in quotes in national newspapers. Here is a timeline on what we know.
78 cases - RCPCH Lancet paper April 1-May 10, 2020, based on PICU data.
268 cases - BPSU study part 1 March-June 2020, based on data from Paediatric level.
444 cases - in their annual report PICANet reported admissions into PICUs from March 2020-July 2021.
690 cases - BBC online article in February 2021 with quote by Dr Elizabeth Whittaker of RCPCH on PIMS cases admitted for emergency hospital treatment May 2020-Feb 21.
712 cases - in a Medrxiv article dated February 2021, whose contributors included Professor Russell Viner and Dr Elizabeth Whittaker.
2,593 cases + 2,270 KD cases - from NHS data sheet below, given in response to our FOI request, covering April 2020-February 2023. See notes below.
Our unofficial estimate of cases to April 2022: 2,500-3,000
Factors we have considered - were all cases included in the NHS data sheet - ie. was tertiary care included? Were atypical or incomplete cases of PIMS either not diagnosed or not included in the data? Have some of the cases of KD from the NHS data sheet in fact been PIMS cases? In our estimate, we have also made provision for cases declining since November 2021 due to the high number of children that have already been infected with COVID.
N.B. PICU COVID-19 and PIMS cases were analysed as one group from January-December 2020; thereafter they are recorded separately.
The table below illustrates the change in activity from R65 and M303 after the introduction of the U075 PIMS-TS COVID associated ICD10 code in November 2020. Please note that the data below is grouped by admission date and the introduction of U075 in November 2020 allowed any patient discharged after the introduction regardless of when admitted to have this code applied to their record where appropriate.
Before April 2020, PIMS was being observed but had not yet been defined and therefore not counted. The information gives more detail than previously but does raise some questions:
We have asked NHS England for clarification on these points and how this data can be shared through the NHS websites.
So why is data important?
For groups such as ours, who are trying to raise awareness of PIMS-TS, data and data analysis would help us in the following ways: