The Covid-19 pandemic is having a profound impact on healthcare globally. Whilst the virus is directly devastating for many suffering from severe infection, there are also wider implications. These include potentially lower use of healthcare for other serious conditions with potential adverse outcomes. Additionally, managing Covid-19 cases may change antibiotic prescribing in hospitals, and have implications for future levels of antibiotic resistance. Anecdotally, fewer people are attending hospital, but we don’t know whether this means that sick people who need to come to hospital are instead dying at home. We don’t know whether antibiotics are needed/being used more or less in patients with Covid-19 infection compared with other serious viral lung infections like influenza.
We want to investigate these questions across Oxfordshire – IORD provides a perfect opportunity to do this because we have monitored serious bacterial infections, deaths and admissions for >20 years, and antibiotic use for 5 years. We want to look the effect of this infection on rates of hospital admission for a range of common conditions, mortality trends in hospital and the community, antibiotic use and rates of serious infections across the county, within different parts of the hospital and in patients tested for Covid-19 to work out what impact the epidemic is having.