Comparing COVID-19 patients in hospital and ICU (Europe, Jan 7)

Date of article: 7 January 2021


A unique way of comparing COVID-19 in Europe

When governments or analysts want to judge the severity of a COVID-19 outbreak in a country, they usually do this by comparing the number of cases, deaths or the positivity rate between countries. Another way to compare the severity of a COVID-19 outbreak, is by monitoring how many COVID-19 patients are currently in hospital and on intensive care in various countries. In this article I will show and compare these numbers for European countries, as of January 7th. Please note: this only includes those countries who actually publish these numbers.

I published this study four times before; see previous updates here: 


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 January 7th.

For example: United Kingdom currently has 30730 COVID-19 patients in hospital. (source). Divided by 67.5 mln inhabitants, this means there are currently 449.7 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 January 7th.

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 current coronavirus outbreak in Europe seems to be in the balance. Of the 26 countries with published ICU data, exactly half of those countries saw the number of COVID-patients on ICU rise since December 10th, while the other 13 European countries are reporting lower numbers of coronavirus patients on ICU since December 10th.
  • Especially because of the strong uptrend of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom and Ireland and the further spread of the British N501Y strain (sometimes called variant), it's becoming harder to predict which way Europe will be heading in the upcoming weeks and, as a result, when hospitals might be overwhelmed and/or lockdowns will be lifted.
  • Of the four countries with the highest number of hospitalized cases per capita, two countries were already in the top on December 10th and saw a clear decline: Bulgaria and Serbia, while two other countries weren't and saw a strong increase in recent weeks: Czechia and Latvia.
  • The countries with the fewest amount of coronavirus patients (adjusted for population size) are still to be found in Northern Europe: Iceland, Finland and Norway.
  • Perhaps one of the most surprising findings of this week's comparison is the fact that Germany has now become one of the European countries with the highest number of coronavirus patients on ICU per capita.


Current trends (comparing with December 10th)

  • Comparing the numbers of December 10th with today's numbers two countries clearly stand out as the two countries with the biggest rise in coronavirus cases (both hospitalized and on ICU): Ireland and Denmark. Especially the uptrend of hospitalized coronavirus patients in Ireland is striking, after multiplying 5(!) times (= increase of +403%). On ICU, the uptrend in the number of COVID-patients was also very clear: Ireland (+181%) and Denmark (+235%).
  • Another country with a significant uptrend since December 10th was United Kingdom which saw the number of hospitalized patients increase by +99% and the number of ICU-patients increase by +127%.
  • The countries which reported the biggest drop in hospitalized coronavirus patients are geographically spread, all over Europe:
  1. Luxembourg -54%
  2. Bulgaria -39%
  3. Austria -38%
  4. Iceland -38%
  5. Hungary -32%
  6. Belgium -31%
  7. Finland -30%
  • The European countries which reported the biggest decrease in coronavirus patients on ICU over the past four weeks:
  1. Iceland -100% (no more COVID-patients left on ICU)
  2. Luxembourg -45%
  3. Hungary -43%
  4. Belgium -39%
  5. Austria -36%
  6. Greece -32%
  7. Bulgaria -30%



Charts per country (if available)


Austria

The Austrian health agency (AGES) currently shows the following charts on its official tracker which indicate that the number of hospitalized patients has been steadily decreasing in recent weeks in Austria.

Belgium

The following chart shows the current number of COVID-19 confirmed patients on ICU's in Belgium. As can be seen, the number of coronavirus patients on ICU has continued to decrease in recent weeks indicating Belgium is now already 8 weeks on the right track.

Czechia

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. Contrary to Belgium, Czech Republic did not continue the downtrend, but instead is reporting a significant increase of hospitalized patients.

Finland

The following chart shows the number of hospitalized coronavirus patients ('Vuodeosasto') and ICU-patients ('Tehohoito') in Finland. Overall the number of hospitalized patients per capita has been very low compared to the rest of Europe. In recent weeks Finland reported a decreasing number of COVID-19 patients in hospital.

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 24598 hospitalized and 2598 on intensive care. The two charts below, which are published by France, however visualize the number of hospitalized patients and on ICU, including overseas territories. The two charts show that the decrease of coronavirus patients in hospital is slowly coming to a halt in France

COVID-19 patients in hospital, France

COVID-19 patients on ICU, France

Ireland

The following charts show the number of COVID-19 patients currently in hospital and on ICU in Ireland. Two months ago, I noted how Ireland was one of the quickest countries to stop the second wave, but in recent 2 weeks the coronavirus exploded and suddenly Ireland finds itself in a worse situation than during the first wave (April).

COVID-19 patients on ICU, Ireland

Latvia

The chart below shows the number of COVID-19 patients currently in hospital in Latvia. Latvia did quite good during the first wave, but the country continues to report more hospitalized patients and has not been able to establish a downtrend for over 4 months now!

Luxembourg

The following chart shows both the number of patients currently on 'normal care' (blue line) and 'intensive care' (red line) in Luxembourg. In recent weeks, Luxembourg has been able to report decreasing numbers of COVID-19 patients in hospital and on ICU.

Netherlands

The following charts show the number of COVID-19 patients currently in hospital (first chart) and on intensive care (second chart) in the Netherlands. After a November-drop in patients in hospital and on ICU, a new increase started. At this moment the number of coronavirus patients in hospital and on ICU is equal to the peak of early November, but still lower than the first wave peak of March/April.

COVID-19 patients in hospital, the Netherlands (since June 1st)

COVID-19 patients on ICU, the Netherlands (since June 1st)

Portugal

The following chart shows the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital (blue bars) and on ICU (red line) in Portugal. As can be seen in this chart the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital and on ICU is now significantly higher than during the first wave in Portugal and has more or less stabilized.


Sweden

Below chart is published by the Swedish ICU-register society and shows the number of coronavirus patients currently on ICU. As can be seen in below chart, the increase in the number of ICU-patients in Sweden looked like it was slowing down in early December, but have continued to increase steadily over the past 4 weeks.

Although Sweden is one of the countries which is releasing COVID-19 numbers in the lowest frequency, the country is now publishing occupancy of COVID-19 patients in hospital and on ICU: Example report for January 7th. The chart of today shows that the number of coronavirus hospitalized patients in Sweden has surpassed the April/May peak last week!

Switzerland

The Swiss federal government releases information on COVID-19 patients currently on ICU in its weekly coronavirus-report. The following chart shows the ICU-capacity including the percentage of current COVID-19 patients. As can be seen, the number of COVID-19 patients on ICU is not decreasing anymore, but seems to have stabilized.

United Kingdom

Below charts by the UK government show the evolution of number of COVID-19 patients in hospital and on ICU over time. Exactly four weeks ago, I noticed that the slow decrease of hospitalized patients in the UK was not very convincing and soon after both the new British strain was announced and the numbers started to increase rapidly. At this moment there are more coronavirus patients in hospital in the UK than during the first wave, and it's likely that the number of patients on mechanical ventilation beds will soon reach the peak of the first wave.


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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