Each confirmed Covid case now costing Wales an average of £5,800, scientists say
Each confirmed Covid case in Wales now costs an average of £5,800, the Welsh Government’s scientific advisors have said.
But that is down from a total cost of £21,100 in December of 2020, for every case confirmed with a PCR test.
The cost includes the impact on the NHS of managing Covid cases but also the long-term economic impact of deaths, not being able to work, including long-Covid.
The cost of Covid cases had fallen as the population was vaccinated, leading to fewer server outcomes, including deaths, the Technical Advisory Group report said.
” Over time the social costs of COVID-19 are moving from mortality to morbidity,” the report said.
It noted that putting a cost on Covid cases was important as “decisions need to be made around prioritising spend” and that spending more on Covid meant “less on other health conditions and social care”.
“Understanding the cost effectiveness of interventions to prevent COVID-19 transmission is important,” the report says.
“Decisions need to be based on an integrated impact assessment where costs and benefits are quantified as much as possible. Previous analysis of mass testing has suggested it was very cost effective during a time of high prevalence and when vaccines were not yet available.
“It is likely that mass testing might not be cost effective now that the there are fewer severe outcomes from COVID-19 infections – a lot of the social value of preventing infections came from preventing deaths.”
The report estimates that there were 45,410 people suffering from long-Covid in Wales at the end of 2021.
“Long COVID is a mixture of those who have symptoms after 12 weeks that disappear soon afterwards plus a long tail of those who continue with long COVID, possibly for years,” they said.
“Most who are particularly susceptible to harder-to-treat long COVID will be affected already because a lot of the population have been exposed to the virus by now.”
The number of Covid cases in Wales is on the rise again, the most recent published figures suggest.
In Wales, 510 hospital patients with Covid-19 were recorded on June 27, up 44% from the previous week.
But around six in 10 hospital patients who test positive for Covid-19 are being treated primarily for something else, rather than the virus.
They will however need to be kept isolated from those patients who do not have Covid, putting extra pressure on hospital staff.
Patient levels across the nations of the UK still some way from the peak reached during the wave of infections earlier this year and the number of people seriously ill remains low.
But the jump in admissions is another signal of how the virus is once again becoming more prevalent, with potential to add further pressure on hospital staff and cause wider disruption across the country.
The current wave of infections is being driven by the newer variants BA.4 and BA.5.
The BA.5 variant is thought to be growing approximately 35% faster than BA.2, while BA.4 is growing 19% faster, meaning it is likely that BA.5 will soon become the dominant Covid-19 variant in the country.
There is “currently no evidence” that the two variants cause more serious illness than previous variants, the UKHSA said.
The growing prevalence of the virus is likely to cause fresh disruption to public services, however.
The two waves of infections earlier in the year, caused respectively by the original Omicron variant and Omicron BA.2, saw a spike in staff absences in key sectors such as transport, health and social care.
Take-up of Covid-19 vaccine could be an additional factor in the latest wave.
Around one in six (16.6%) of people aged 75 and over in the UK have not received a dose within the past six months, putting them more at risk of severe disease, the UKHSA said.
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