Comparing COVID-19 patients in hospital and ICU (Europe, Oct 1)

Date of article: 1 October 2020


An alternative way of comparing COVID-19 in Europe

When comparing COVID-19 outbreaks in countries, many news media and analysts use the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases per capita or the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths per capita. Some other analysts (myself included) have been using the positivity rate (the number of positive tests, divided by the total number of tests performed) as the preferred way of comparing COVID-19 outbreaks in different countries.


As I pointed out in early March (source), there's however another very good way to compare different countries: the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital and/or the number of COVID-19 patients on intensive care. One of the reasons for me to use the positivity rate was because COVID-19 testing data was being published by many countries in the first months of the coronavirus outbreak. Nowadays many European countries are also publishing the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital and ICU, so after some thorough researching, here is a unique comparison of the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital and ICU within many European countries.


COVID-19 patients currently in hospital

The following chart shows the number of COVID-19 patients currently in hospital per country, relative to population size. All data has been gathered from official government sources on October 1st.

For example: United Kingdom currently has 2276 COVID-19 patients in hospital. (source). Divided by 67.5 mln inhabitants, this means there are currently 33.7 hospitalized COVID-19 patients per 1 mln inhabitants.


COVID-19 patients currently on Intensive Care

The following chart shows the number of COVID-19 patients currently on Intensive Care per country, relative to population size. All data has been gathered from official government sources on October 1st.

Note: some countries report on 'patients on mechanical ventilation', instead of 'Intensive Care'. For those countries that number is used instead.


Interpretation of the charts

  • In general the above charts show that countries which are currently reporting a high positivity rate are also the countries which are reporting a relative high number of COVID-19 patients in hospital and ICU and the other way around.
  • However, in particular Spain stands out, as the country currently having by far the highest amount of COVID-19 patients in hospital (in Europe) AND the country currently having by far the highest amount of COVID-19 patients on ICU (in Europe).
  • Other countries with a relatively high number of COVID-19 patients are Czech Republic, France and Belgium, which indicates these countries are currently dealing with heavy COVID-19 outbreaks compared to other European countries.
  • The countries with few COVID-19 confirmed patients in hospital, are also the countries which have been reporting very low positivity rates recently: Finland, Norway, Latvia and to a lesser extent Denmark.
  •  A very important point to make is that the current numbers of patients in hospital and ICU are still very low compared to the numbers back in March and April. For many countries the number of patients in hospital and ICU is currently around 10% to 30% of what it was in March and April.
  • However, there are a few countries which currently have a similar or higher number of patients in hospital, the striking example being Czech Republic (see also charts below).
  • Although the numbers are still low compared to March/April; there is however a clear uptrend in most European countries showing the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital and ICU is increasing.


Charts per country (if available)

Austria

In Austria currently 98 out of 748 intensive care beds are used by COVID-19 patients. As shown in below chart this represents 13% of the total capacity. Source: gesundheitsministerium.at

Belgium

The following charts show the number of COVID-19 confirmed patients in Belgians hospitals and ICU's.

Czech Republic

The following chart shows the number of COVID-19 patients currently in hospital (blue line) and the number of COVID-19 patients currently on intensive care (red line) in Czechia. As can be seen in this chart, Czech Republic currently has way more COVID-19 patients hospitalized than back in March/April.

Denmark

Although Denmark does not publish charts to visualize the number of patients currently in hospital, they do publish a chart which shows the number of new hospitalized patients per day. These type of charts typically have a similar trend, so one can expect the number of COVID-19 patients currently in hospital has been increasing recently in Denmark.

France

The French government typically publishes its data, including their overseas departments, while we at Newsnodes have been working hard to exclude this type of data. For our calculations in this article, we have used the French government data for 'mainland France' only, which today is 6371 hospitalized and 1202 on intensive care. The following two charts which are published by France however represent the number of hospitalized patients and on ICU, including overseas territories.

COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized in France:

COVID-19 patients currently on ICU in France:

Ireland

The following charts show the number of COVID-19 patients currently in hospital and on ICU in Ireland.

Luxembourg

The following chart shows both the number of patients currently on 'normal care' (blue line) and 'intensive care' (red line) in Luxembourg.

Latvia

The chart below shows the number of COVID-19 patients currently in hospital in Latvia.

The Netherlands

The following chart shows the number of COVID-19 patients currently in hospital (blue line) and on intensive care (red line) in the Netherlands.

Norway

Norway publishes various charts on hospital admissions per week, but also one chart about the number of COVID-19 patients currently in hospital, although this particular stacked bar chart also includes a breakdown to country of birth.

Portugal

Of the countries which were hit significantly during the first wave, Portugal is one of the very few countries in Europe which currently has over half the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital, compared to the peak in early April. The following chart shows the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital (blue bars) and on ICU (red line).

Sweden

Although the data in the most recent weeks is still preliminary, it does look like Sweden is not seeing any uptrend in the number of patients on ICU. The following chart shows the number of new admitted COVID-19 patients to ICU (per week). As mentioned with the Denmark chart, these type of charts typically show a similar trend as the 'currently on ICU' charts.

Switzerland

Although the Swiss government does not release daily numbers of COVID-19 patients currently in hospital / ICU, they do release two charts in their weekly report. The following two chart show the hospitalized patients in Switzerland and the ICU-capacity including the percentage of current COVID-19 patients. Both charts show that Switzerland has few hospitalized COVID-19 patients currently.

United Kingdom

Although the final datapoint of October 1 does not yet include data by Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, it's still easy to see in the bar chart below that the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital has been increasing in recent weeks in the United Kingdom.


Do you know of more European governments who publish a chart on current COVID-19 hospitalizations or ICU-patients? Share it with us by sending an e-mail or Twitter message!

article by Newsnodes








 

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