Covid: No evidence shielding helped

It’s going to be a clear my bookmarks kind of day

There is no evidence that shielding benefited vulnerable people during the Covid pandemic, according to a study.

Swansea University compared 117,000 people shielding in Wales with the rest of the population of three million.

The study found deaths and healthcare usage were higher among shielding people than the general population.

The Welsh government said shielding was introduced on medical and scientific advice and it will continue to review evidence from the pandemic.

The study also found the Covid rate was higher among those shielding – 5.9% compared to 5.7%.

The researchers said the data raised questions about whether the policy worked.

They concluded that a “lack of clear impact on infection rates raises questions about the success of shielding, and indicates that further research is required to fully evaluate this national policy intervention”.

Prof Snooks also emphasised that the shielding group was “a lot sicker than the non-shielding group“.

And still the shielding failed

“There were more deaths and there were more hospital admissions. We are, at this point, thinking that perhaps it was impossible to shield people effectively when there was such a high level of healthcare transmission at that time,” she said.

“For a particular person, it may have been the best thing to do. What we evaluated was the policy of writing to people and recommending very strongly that they stay at home. It wasn’t underpinned at that time by any evidence.”

“It was sort of made up at the time and implemented.”

We will continue to review evidence as we learn from the protective interventions and mitigations applied during the Covid-19 response.”

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