Houses per 100,000

in the last 14 days

Belgium has postponed

all non-essential hospital

Work to deal with the influx

of new Covid-19 patients.

About a fifth of

Spain’s intensive care beds are

already occupied by

Covid-19 patients.

Cases rise faster in

the Czech Republic as

anywhere else in Europe.

Doctors fear there a

Lack of medical staff.

Belgium has postponed

all non-essential hospital

Work to deal with the influx

of new Covid-19 patients.

Houses per 100,000

in the last 14 days

About a fifth of

Spain’s intensive care beds are

already occupied by

Covid-19 patients.

Cases rise faster in

the Czech Republic as

anywhere else in Europe.

Doctors fear there a

Lack of medical staff.

Houses per 100,000

in the last 14 days

Belgium has postponed

all non-essential hospital

Work to deal with the influx

of new Covid-19 patients.

Cases rise faster in

the Czech Republic as

anywhere else in Europe.

Doctors fear there a

Lack of medical staff.

About a fifth of

Spain’s intensive care beds are

already occupied by

Covid-19 patients.

Belgium has postponed

all non-essential hospital

Work to deal with the influx

of new Covid-19 patients.

Houses per 100,000

in the last 14 days

Cases rise faster in

the Czech Republic as

anywhere else in Europe.

Doctors fear there a

Lack of medical staff.

About a fifth of

Spain’s intensive care beds are

already occupied by

Covid-19 patients.

Source: European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, New York Times case database

LONDON – Poland has turned its largest stadium into an emergency hospital. The number of Covid-19 patients in Belgium and the UK has doubled in two weeks. And doctors and nurses in the Czech Republic are falling ill at an alarming rate.

When new cases of the virus began to appear across Europe last month, hospitals were initially spared the mass influx of patients they had survived early spring. Some suggested that the virus had become less deadly or that older, more vulnerable people were being screened.

But a second wave of serious illnesses is here, as new data released Thursday shows that the pandemic is still dangerous and that adherence to control measures over the next few weeks will be critical to keeping hospitals from going for the second Times overrun this year.

Where people are sick from the coronavirus

country

Patients in the hospital per 100,000

Spring summit

% of the spring peak

Czech Republic

35

4th

882%

Spain

29

Belgium

22nd

50

43%

Bulgaria

21st

6th

381%

Poland

21st

9

230%

Hungary

18th

7th

249%

France

16

48

34%

21 European countries

14th

31

45%

Italy

13

55

24%

Slovenia

13

6th

226%

Croatia

12

9

136%

Slovakia

12

4th

285%

United States

11

18th

61%

Portugal

11

13

83%

United Kingdom

10

30th

33%

Austria

8th

12

68%

Ireland

6th

18th

31%

Luxembourg

5

35

fifteen%

Latvia

4th

2

163%

Estonia

3

12

23%

Denmark

2

9

23%

Finland

1

4th

23%

Norway

1

6th

10%

Iceland

0.3

12

2%

Source: European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. Hospital data for Europe includes 21 countries reporting daily hospital occupancy data to the ECDC. Germany, the Netherlands and others are omitted. The spring peak is the highest since March and April, with the exception of Hungary, where data collection began in May. Current patients in hospitals reflect the latest available data.

The number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals across the continent is still below half of its peak in March and April, but is steadily increasing every week, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. People in much of Europe – including larger countries like France, Italy, Poland and Spain – are now more likely to be hospitalized with Covid-19 than in the US.

Bruno Ciancio, the head of disease surveillance at the center, said he was concerned that some of the countries most affected at the moment – including the Czech Republic, Poland and Bulgaria – were not as affected this spring and may not have or may not have expanded their hospital capacity Intensive care units.

“The signals were all there in September,” said Mr Ciancio. “At this point it is very important that all Member States prepare their hospitals for the increased demand.”

Hospital stay rates are a key measure of the severity of the pandemic. Rates rise and fall days or weeks behind the number of new infections. However, infection numbers are highly dependent on the testing capacity of each country, while seriously ill people tend to enter hospitals whether or not they have been tested for the virus.

The current wave of infections in Europe is partly due to the relative normality this summer. Unlike the US, where the epidemic climbed to a second peak in July and a third peak this month, travelers moved across Europe, students returned to campus, and many large gatherings resumed as the virus continued to spread.

Now hospitals are scrambling to prepare for an onslaught of Covid-19 patients at a time when the bed and ICU capacity will be already under pressure during the winter flu season.

Europe’s second wave

Hospitalization of Covid-19 patients per 100,000 people

In Poland, the government converted the country’s largest stadium into a temporary field hospital with space for 500 patients. Hospitals in France, particularly in the Paris area, have begun postponing non-emergency surgeries while other workers have called back on vacation. More than a fifth of Spanish intensive care beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients, and in Madrid that number is closer to 40 percent.

And in the Czech Republic – where the current hospitalization rate exceeds the worst in the UK – doctors are concerned about staff shortages. “In some regions, around 10 percent of the medical staff is either already infected or in quarantine,” said Petr Smejkal, head of infectious diseases and epidemiology at the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine in Prague.

Mr Smejkal said the country also lacks skilled workers such as respiratory therapists and that most nurses are not trained to operate ventilators. “I am very concerned about the staff and the safe relationship between doctors and patients and nurses with patients,” he added.

It is hoped that no place will experience the level of death that Bergamo, Italy, New York City and Madrid suffered this spring. The spread of the virus is now better known, and treatments have improved so that sick people have a better chance of survival. The tests have been rolled out across Europe so that countries can identify outbreaks earlier if they are easier to contain.

However, it is unclear how successful these control measures will be, or whether political opposition and collective exhaustion via new restrictions will make it more difficult to get the virus under control a second time.

Deaths in most of Europe remain at a fraction of the spring levels. But they have been slowly ticking up in the past few weeks and they tend to delay hospital stays by about a month. Experts say an additional increase in deaths is likely over the next few weeks.

Covid-19 deaths are slowly increasing again

Deaths per million people in the past 14 days

Albania

March 1st October 21st Last two weeks

Source: The New York Times. Shows countries with at least 1 million people.

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