Hospital patients with coronavirus and flu ‘more likely need intensive care’

Coronavirus patients who contracted the flu while in hospital had nearly twice the length of stay and were more likely to need intensive care, the government’s scientific advisers have said.

Those with COVID-19 and flu were also more likely to need invasive ventilation treatment, according to the findings published by the scientific advisory group for emergencies (SAGE) on Friday.

Mortality among those with both illnesses did not increase because young patients were more likely to have the flu, the findings show.

The scientists also said “co-infection is likely to place additional strain on hospital capacity and resources” during the coronavirus pandemic and winter flu season.

The report adds that “great efforts should be made to encourage widespread influenza vaccination”.

One of the documents reads: “Patients who tested positive for influenza at any point in their hospital stay were more likely to be admitted to critical care, receive invasive ventilation and had nearly twice the length of stay.

“Death was similar across the testing groups. Patients who tested positive for flu had a significantly longer length of stay (over twice as long) than those who tested negative for flu.”

The report also said further research was required to understand the effects coronavirus and flu have on patients who have both at the same time.

A separate document showed there had been a substantial rise in the number of women aged 20 to 40 admitted for serious coronavirus infections since the beginning of August.

Professor Calum Semple, a consultant respiratory paediatrician, told Sky News: “This is likely the impact of exposure across many sectors of society, particularly hospital and retail, which employs many young women.

“It shows the importance of providing better protection in the form of face-coverings and visors or these staff”