Europe’s hospitals on verge of ‘breaking point’ as deaths rise in coronavirus hotspotsSeptember 16, 2020
EUROPEAN hospitals are on the verge of “breaking point” as deaths rise in coronavirus hotspots across the region.
There are now fears of a second wave in Europe with the number of cases rising in many countries.
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There are repeated scenes of chaos in Spanish hospitals with 156 new deaths recorded yesterday, the largest daily rise since mid-May.
Of the 303 recorded deaths in the past week, 115 were from Madrid, Spain’s hardest-hit region where infections are rising higher than in any other part of the country.
Hospitals in European hotspots are close to breaking point with admissions in intensive care units increasing in cities such as Marseille and Madrid.
In France, nearly 5,500 coronavirus patients have been hospitalised.
According to the Telegraph, officials in Marseille say they may soon have to send intensive care patients to hospitals elsewhere in France.
Only four out of 35 hospital beds in the city’s hospital are free.
Jean-Olivier Arnaud, director of Marseille’s main hospital, said: “We’re not far from saturation.
“Some surgeries are being postponed to cope with the spike in coronavirus infections.
“But there’s no question of massively postponing operations as we had to in March and April,” Mr Arnaud said.
“Further delays would be too damaging in terms of public health.
“We’ll now have to deal head-on with two waves of patients: Covid cases and all the others, who are very numerous.”
However, Mr Arnaud said the main worry for his hospital was the number of staff available.
“We have recently recruited about 100 health workers but we won’t have as many staff available for the Covid cases as we did in the spring.”
Bordeaux’s main hospital has a total of 24 coronavirus infected patients in its intensive care unit.
“The number has more than doubled in the past 10 days,” said Yann Bubien, the hospital’s director.
“All the warning signals are flashing red.”
Nevertheless, Mr Bubien said Bordeaux’s hospitals are prepared.
“We now have 180 critical care beds and we’re capable of going up to 300 intensive care beds and that’s only at the Bordeaux teaching hospital, not counting nearby hospitals and private clinics.”
In Madrid, health workers are warning of the collapse of hospitals and health centres due to the high numbers of new infections.
Madrid has over 359 patients in intensive care, more than a quarter of the national total of 1,273.
84 per cent of the intensive care beds are occupied by coronavirus patients.
However, the region quadrupled its IC capacity to 1,500 beds at the height of the pandemic in April.
Jens Spahn, the German health minister, on Tuesday, expressed confusion about why Spain’s Covid-19 numbers were rising.
“There aren’t many other countries in the European Union to have adopted such tough measures to contain the first wave,” he said.
However, there are other European countries that are an exception to the rising number of infections.
Last week Sweden had just 13 coronavirus patients in intensive care and an average of one death per day.
Sweden opted to stick with the "herd immunity" strategy first pursued by Downing Street and allow the virus to partially spread through its population.
The approach initially saw its infection rate rise far above that in countries where lockdowns were imposed, but authorities argued it would be easier to maintain in the long-term.
In place of a lockdown, Swedes have been encouraged to follow social distancing and hygiene guidelines, with bars, restaurants and shops allowed to remain open throughout.
As of yesterday, Europe has had 221,942 Covid-19 deaths since February 15 when the first death was recorded in France.
April 4 was the deadliest day so far in Europe with 5,331 deaths while on September 15, 503 deaths were recorded.
The UK has the highest number of recorded deaths in Europe at 41,637.
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