According to leaked data, more than half of COVID patients in the UK tested positive for the virus only after they were admitted to hospitals.

Newsmax citing the figures leaked from England’s National Health Service, showed that 56% of COVID-19 cases in the country were not detected until after patients underwent standard COVID tests.

Hospitals already test everyone for COVID-19 infection, even if they are not showing symptoms.

The data, which was first reported by The Telegraph, might suggest the third wave of COVID in the country is less severe than previously reported.

“When people hear about hospitalizations with COVID, they will assume that COVID is the likely cause, but this data shows something quite different—this is about COVID being detected after tests were looking for it,” said Oxford Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine. Heneghan described the data as “incredibly important” and urged the UK government to publish more transparent data.

“This needs to be fixed as a matter of urgency,” Heneghan said, explaining that the published data could lead the public “toward false conclusions,” which distort the actual levels of pressures placed on hospitals.

An expert who works with the National Health Service data said that the published data “creates an impression that all these people are going into hospital with COVID, and that simply is not the case.”

“People are worried and scared and not really understanding the true picture—that is what I find despicable,” the expert said.

Greg Clark, chairman of Commons science and technology select committee, said he would request the Health Secretary Sajid Javid to publish the data on an ongoing basis.

“If hospitalizations from COVID are a key determinant of how concerned we should be, and how quickly restrictions should be lifted, it’s important that the data is not presented in a way that could lead to the wrong conclusions being drawn,” Clark said.

“While some of these people may be being admitted due to COVID, we currently do not know how many. And for those who are not, there is a big distinction between people who are admitted because of COVID and those are in for something else but have COVID in such a mild form that it was not the cause of their hospitalization.”

The data was leaked after health officials last month tasked the NHS to provide “a breakdown of the current stock of COVID patients” who sought treatment for the virus and those who sought treatment for other reasons.

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