Germany’s management on Friday warned the system may collapse in weeks if the present trajectory continues. “The variety of extreme circumstances in intensive sufferers continues to be rising. The variety of deaths is one thing that’s not actually being talked about and it stays very excessive,” mentioned Steffen Seibert, spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“Now we have not but managed to convey the numbers again to a low degree. Now we have mainly solely managed to get previous step one thus far, that’s, to cease the sturdy, steep, exponential enhance of infections and we are actually secure, however our numbers are nonetheless very, very excessive.”
‘Sufferers deteriorate in a short time’
Michael Oppert, head of intensive care on the Ernst von Bergmann hospital in Potsdam, simply exterior Berlin, is equally involved in regards to the dramatic rise in latest weeks — and expects issues to worsen.
“We aren’t on the tip of the wave now, at the least so far as I see,” he instructed a visiting CNN group this week. “And we do have a capability for a number of extra sufferers, but when this carries on on the pace that we’re experiencing proper now I might think about that even our hospital, with over 1,000 beds, will come to some extent the place we now have to ship sufferers house or to different hospitals to get handled.”
Bettina Schade, chief nurse on the Covid ward in the identical hospital, described how the ward has modified over the previous couple of weeks. “The numbers of sufferers have been growing. We’re getting much more sufferers with various levels of sickness. Each for the conventional Covid ward, however many additionally come to the emergency unit and really rapidly should be put into ICU,” she mentioned. “We’re presently experiencing having to place lots of sufferers from the conventional Covid ward into ICU in a short time as a result of sufferers deteriorate in a short time.”
This is applicable even to many youthful sufferers with extreme signs, mentioned Tillman Schumacher, a senior infectious illness doctor. “Now we have sufferers of 30 or 40 years right here who’re on a ventilator and I’m not positive if they will survive.”
Solely two of the 16 ICU beds had been vacant and the hospital workers was already canceling non-urgent operations to release capability — in addition to planning to transform extra of its normal intensive care amenities into Covid models.
Dr. Uwe Janssens, head of the DIVI, defined what measures could be taken if the present spike continues. “The common program of hospitals must be shut down, a partial closing down of the common operations and admissions of sufferers which you’ll delay for a number of weeks with none pressure, they are often delayed. There are individuals who do not want an emergency surgical procedure or an emergency catheter or one thing like that. They are often delayed. And doing this you get the capability and get the nurses and the physicians to assist the ICU physicians and ICU nurses on their wards.”
After bearing in mind non-Covid sufferers, 22,066 intensive care beds within the nation had been occupied as of November 20, whereas 6,107 remained vacant. Germany has a reserve of about 12,000 ICU beds, together with subject hospital beds at Berlin’s conference heart.
Regardless of the massive capability, well being minister Jens Spahn earlier this month warned that ICUs could possibly be overwhelmed if every day an infection charges continued to rise on the present degree. “We are actually more and more seeing a rising burden and the specter of being overwhelmed in intensive care, in hospitals and at GPs,” he mentioned in an interview with Germany’s state broadcaster ARD.
Germany presents assist to different European international locations
And that could possibly be dangerous information for all of Europe. Till now, Germany has been taking in Covid sufferers from neighboring international locations whose well being care methods are overwhelmed.
The German International Workplace confirmed to CNN that through the first wave of the pandemic, between March 21 and April 12, 232 sufferers had been transferred to Germany for therapy — 44 of them from Italy, 58 from the Netherlands and 130 from France. Within the fall too, the federal states of North-Rhine Westphalia and Saarland provided areas to 36 sufferers — three of them from the Netherlands, 25 from Belgium and eight from France, a International Workplace spokesperson mentioned.
”These sufferers have a necessity for intensive medical care,” mentioned Anja Wengenroth, a spokeswoman at College Hospital Muenster in Muenster, North Rhine-Westphalia. Her hospital established a system within the spring whereby Benelux international locations — Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg — may put in a request for ICU beds, a scheme which is ongoing. The North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of Labor, Well being and Social Affairs confirmed to CNN that presently ”46 hospitals have presently agreed to just accept overseas Covid-19 sufferers. There are presently 76 beds on supply.”
Anne Funk, head of the division of cross-border cooperation in Germany’s smallest federal state of Saarland, which borders France, instructed CNN that through the first wave of the pandemic, its hospitals took in 32 French sufferers. On the finish of October, Saarland provided France eight beds; three sufferers have been transferred up to now.
“We want to assist wherever we are able to,” Funk mentioned. “We don’t wish to differentiate between nationalities. In the mean time we nonetheless have capacities. We’re coordinating with medical and native authorities in France on a person wants foundation. We’re right here to assist.”
For now they will proceed to do this, however with Germany’s ICUs filling up rapidly, it is not clear for the way for much longer.
Germany has not too long ago seen a string of demonstrations towards the nation’s anti-pandemic measures, with many protesters denying the severity of the virus.
The nation is in a nationwide partial lockdown which requires restaurant and bars to stay closed, folks to keep away from journey, preserve their contacts to an absolute minimal and restrict public conferences to members of two completely different households. Colleges and outlets have remained open. German federal and state leaders will meet subsequent week to determine on introducing additional measures.
On Wednesday, hundreds of individuals gathered close to the parliament in Berlin whereas lawmakers inside debated plans for better authorized powers to implement restrictions. Police used water cannon and tear gasoline to disperse protesters, lots of whom weren’t carrying face masks.
That is thought of a slap within the face by frontline medical workers working laborious to maintain folks alive, like Schade. “I additionally hear some folks I do know say issues like: it is like a flu or might be in comparison with a daily flu,” the chief nurse mentioned. “We simply can not perceive folks saying that! After all all of us have the worry that possibly in some unspecified time in the future we can’t make it anymore and will have a scenario like that they had in Italy the place sufferers are exterior in automobiles and get handled with oxygen as a result of there isn’t any extra capability.”
Germany continues to be far-off from such situations however, whereas there are nonetheless hundreds of ICU beds accessible within the nation, Oppert had a message of warning in regards to the second wave of the pandemic and its dynamic.
“It’s completely different, it’s tougher,” he mentioned. “We do are inclined to see extra sufferers now. Not solely right here within the Berlin/Potsdam area, wherein we now have a heavy burden of intensive care sufferers, however nationwide the numbers are climbing and so they’re nonetheless climbing, they don’t seem to be coming down in the meanwhile.”