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Germany: ICU Beds Could Fill Up Quickly, Expert Warns

In the ongoing third Corona wave, the intensive care units at Germany’s hospitals might be overcrowded within four weeks, Professor Christian Karagiannidis of the ‘Divi Intensivregister’ warns. In the meantime, two First Ministers from Germany’s south demand a consistent fight against Corona.

Berlin, April 1st, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — Germany’s ‘Divi Intensivregister’ constantly tracks the number of free beds at intensive care units (ICUs) at 1,300 hospitals in Germany. The organization’s latest prediction is alarming. It’s member Professor Christian Karagiannidis just told the ‘Rheinische Post’ daily, there were 1,500 ICU beds left right now. In order to make sure they would not be occupied quickly, Germany needed to act right now.

Immediate ‘Hard Lockdown’

Since mid-March, an additional 1,000 Corona patients had been taken to Germany’s ICUs, Karagiannidis stated. If the development continued at this pace, the intensive care units would reach their capacity limit within four weeks. At this moment, 1,500 ICU beds were vacant. The Professor demanded an immediate “hard lockdown” for two weeks, mandatory Corona tests at schools and an acceleration of the Corona vaccination campaign.

Last week, the ‘Divi Intensivregister’ had issued its first warning by saying the pressure on Germany’s ICUs was already as high as it had been during the first Corona wave, one year ago. This was alarming, also because Corona patients were usually brought to intensive care two to three weeks after new infection waves hit.

Curfews and Contact Restrictions

Because of the alarming situation, the First Ministers from two of Germany’s federal states, Markus Söder from Bavaria and Winfried Kretschmann from Baden-Württemberg, sent a letter to their 14 colleagues in which they demand a consistent fight against the Coronavirus. The virus did not pardon any delays, the letter says. Every day of waiting would lead to thousands of additional infections.

All relevant Corona numbers for Germany, and daily Corona updates, can be found in our Corona chronology.

Söder and Kretschmann said the “emergency brake” needed to be pulled right now, “without further considerations or hesitations”. Nightly curfews and “appropriate contact restrictions” needed to be put in place. The two First Ministers appealed to their colleagues to follow the decisions they had been part of in the last Corona conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel. The “emergency brake” was supposed to apply once the Incidence Number in a federal state exceeds 100 for three consecutive days. This has been the case in most federal states for a while now. But the heads of government in some states, including the Saarland and Berlin, are refraining from implementing their own decisions.

Uniform Solution

Winfried Kretschmann and Markus Söder also said there needed to be a uniform solution for schools in all of Germany. They want it to include mandatory Corona tests. The kind of appeal the two First Ministers sent to all of their colleagues is unconventional, also because Kretschmann is part of the center-left Greens, while Söder heads the conservative CSU, Bavaria’s version of Angela Merkel’s CDU. The Chancellor had criticized several First Ministers, including some of her own party colleagues, for not pulling the “emergency brake”, in a television interview the other day.

Hamburg and Brandenburg just introduced strict new Corona rules which include nightly curfews. That way, these two federal states intend to limit illegal parties and parks and other gatherings that lead to more contacts and more Corona infections. Many other states refuse to tighten their Corona rules right now, in spite of the fact that they themselves approved the “emergency brake” decision, for situations like the one they are in.

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