ANALYSIS: Comparing hospital demand in Europe

Date of article: 19 March 2020

Back in February, when the Coronavirus was starting to spread in Europe, health authorities in Europe and the United States were stating they have the best medical institutions and that there was no reason to panic as the mortality rate of the Coronavirus was not very high. Already back then, I pointed out that we should not take things for granted:

  • COVID did not have a high fatality rate in Asia, but in places where hospitals were overcrowded (e.g. in Wuhan) the fatality rates were way higher. (See also, this publication in medical journal The Lancet).

  • China was able to send in around 40000 medical specialists from all over the country to Hubei province to relieve the health care system in the epicenter, while enforcing strict lockdowns on its population. If they wouldn't have, the fatality rate would have been higher as well. Europe will not have those numbers of medical forces.
  • There is a limited amount of Intensive Care Units and ECMO-machines. Once these are all in use, then almost every critical case will end up as a fatality.


Because of the above, and the news reports that hospitals in Italy are already overwhelmed, I decided to compare the people currently on intensive care with the intensive care capacity a country has:

The above chart gives an indication in where we are standing at this moment. It shows the current amount of COVID patients per European country both in current numbers (white text) as in a percentage of total available intensive care units in this country. Note: The X-axis only ranges to 50%, but this is also a decent estimate for the percentage of ICU already in use for non-COVID patients.

article by Newsnodes








 

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