Europe’s richest nation has few ICU beds left

Europe's richest nation has few ICU beds left
Nurses look after patients in the coronavirus intensive care unit of the University Hospital Dresden, November 13, 2020. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: Germany was seen as a beacon for other countries in Europe during the first wave of coronavirus and hailed for one of the world’s best health care systems. But the country is now beginning to struggle with more severe Covid-19 infections than at any other point during the pandemic. It’s ICU beds are running out.

Covid-19 infection numbers hit an all-time record on Friday, with nearly 24,000 new daily cases recorded in the country — and so did the number of patients in the country’s ICU.

Official figures from the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive and Emergency Medicine (DIVI) show that the number of coronavirus patients in German intensive care units (ICU) has climbed from 267 on September 21 to 3,615 as of November 20 — a more than 13-times increase in the space of just two months.

Europe’s largest economy has gotten through the coronavirus pandemic fairly well for now compared to its neighboring countries. This in in part due to its high intensive care capacity with nearly 40 beds per 100,000 inhabitants; in contrast, Italy, another hard-hit country, has just 8.6. But with Covid-19 infections across the region skyrocketing, even Germany’s healthcare system is under strain and hospitals in some areas are increasingly coming close to their limits.

On Friday, Germany’s leadership warned the healthcare system could collapse in weeks if the current trajectory continues.

Steffen Seibert, the spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, said: “The number of severe cases in intensive patients is still rising. The number of deaths is something that is not really being talked about and it remains very high.”

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