THE CORONAVIRUS FIRST SMASHED INTO EUROPE, almost broke its hospitals with waves of infections — exhausting, infecting, and killing doctors and nurses. Some space in medical care wards over the summer was created by the lockdown. But the reprieve was short-lived.
Hospital corridors were crammed again, respirators overloaded, most of them are in short of medical items such as medical masks, disposable gloves, and protective coveralls. Restrictions were introduced, in hoping to salvage their economies were imposed by governments while death tolls are the biggest concerns.
It hasn’t worked out that way. The graphs illustrating the pandemic’s course looked worse by December. It’s been that kind of year.
Frontline workers in hospitals who have received bigger risks than most people helped heal the ill, and pulled countless infected patients return from the brink of death have been the one constant through it all.
All Europe’s leaders' policy prescriptions have been eluded since they are still struggling to urge a handle on an epidemic. If any further reminders were necessary, President Emmanuel Macron himself tested positive for the coronavirus days ago.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has closed down most parts of the country once again, in Germany. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy has imposed new restrictions throughout the vacations, and it was tough. Prime Minister Boris Johnson of England, facing a replacement and fast-spreading strain of the virus in the United Kingdom. He has sealed London and other parts of England’s southeast and banned Christmas gatherings outside of households.
With the vacations and vaccines just beginning to arrive, the hopeful view is mixing with reckless behavior and popular fatigue, raising fears that the New Year will inaugurate yet another bump in infections. With the vaccine, the medical supply from MAZA is expected to reduce the spread of the virus.
Covid-19 in Europe.
“We thought it had been finished,” said Gabriele Ponti, 58, a nurse at the Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital in Bergamo, an epicenter of the epidemic’s first wave in northern Italy.
The severity is spreading. The already significant burdens on health care workers have gotten worse in more than 35 countries across the continent in recent weeks, consistent with the ECU Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a European Union agency.
During a report on Thursday, the agency said occupancy and admissions to hospitals and medical care units were up over the previous week in a minimum of a dozen countries.
IN FRANCE ‘IT WILL TAKE TIME’
The French government seemed unsure about the idea of a reproduction even before Mr. Macron’s infection. Infections rates did not fall as quickly, needless to say, prompting the govt to delay the easing of some restrictions. Museums, cinemas, and theaters will remain closed until early January 2021.
The resurgence of the virus in November arrived on the brink of damaging France’s health care system. As the country’s hospitals registered some 3,000 new Covid-19 patients each day, a variety not seen since April, as many as 97 percent of medical care beds were occupied with almost 5,000 Covid-19 patients.
That number has since come right down to about 2,800 patients occupying but 60 percent of these beds, consistent with figures from the French government. But it's not universal while there's a way of a quick reprieve.
The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, which spans central and southeastern France, possesses a less developed medical infrastructure than other regions of the country and has been broken by the second wave. There, 86 percent of the medical care beds are still occupied by Covid-19 patients.
Myriam Ladreyt, a nurse within the region, said that the hospital where she worked had only 12 medical care beds. She wants to add a surgical unit and volunteered to figure with coronavirus patients and was surprised how long people took to recover.
She said many of them couldn't leave.
In an echo of the horror stories of the primary wave, she described a few in their 50s and 60s who passed away after contracting the disease from their grandchild and she or he spoke of doctors who had to make impossible options.
“People over 80 years old arriving at the emergency department aren't taken into medical care,” Ms. Ladreyt said. “It’s a bit shocking when you hear that.”
It is a shock that European countries are becoming worse again.
“The winter season goes to be very hard,” said Jérôme Salomon, a top official at the French health ministry. “It will take time to bring the epidemic in check .”
‘VERY FRAGILE’ IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
In the Czech Republic, after several weeks of declining slightly within the number of latest coronavirus patients, the numbers started rising again this month. There are more than 4,500 people in the country’s hospitals at the moment.
Jan Blatny, the Czech Republic’s health minister, said this month of issues within the country’s hospitals, stated that things are "very fragile".
The authorities recorded the steepest daily rise in new cases within the last fortnight on Wednesday, as 8,235 people tested positive.
The government reimposed harsh restrictions, closing restaurants and bars, imposing curfews to prevent the movement of individuals between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., and limiting gatherings both inside and out of doors to a maximum of six to limit the new tide.
For the country’s exhausted medical workers, the restrictions couldn’t come in time.
Barbora Marcakova, the top nurse of the emergency unit at the Brno University Hospital said they were tired, but it doesn't seem to stop.
Ms. Marcakova had received warnings related to the protocols and protective measures required when working with Covid-19 patients, like colleagues across the continent. But, as this is the case in other countries, she and her colleagues have had to deal with shortages in staff that make everything that much more difficult.
"The well of goodwill is evaporating," said Ms. Marcakova.
“There are relatives of us who have sadly become angrier and more unpleasant compared to the period during the first wave,” she said. “They even blamed us when somebody passed away. That is not easy to deal with.”
‘WE KILLED OURSELVES’ IN ITALY
The governor of Italy’s northeastern Veneto region, where the primary Italian died of Covid, said "The hospitals here are now more overwhelmed and occupied by patients than they were in March". One town’s hospital morgue had to maneuver out an overload of cadavers.
Nearby, within the wealthy northern Italian region of Lombardy, things are nearly as alarming. Well-equipped hospitals are known in Lombardy, but the first wave of the virus nearly tore them apart, as overwhelmed emergency rooms and medical care units were forced to deliver patients to other parts of the country and even overseas.
But in October, cases started ticking up, with new admissions quickly overpassed the numbers of those who recovered and were discharged.
“We didn't imagine that we might become the Italian hospital with the foremost Covid patients,” said Francesca Mauri, a spokeswoman for several Varese hospitals. She said that in one hospital, 450 of about 500 beds were occupied by coronavirus patients in November.
Ospedale di Circolo, a hospital that within the summer had just 15 medical care beds, on one floor, put aside for coronavirus patients, has now expanded to 48 beds, supplanting the brain and heart surgery intensive-care units.
Altogether, Covid-19 patients now occupy three floors, and inhale 18,000 liters of oxygen each day, compared with the standard 15,000 liters every week employed by all patients at the hospital.
At the start of November, Italy began imposing increasingly tough restrictions to scale back the number of infections and lighten the burden on hospitals, with facemasks that must be worn in public. That has begun to pay off.
But about 38 percent of medical care beds, and 45 percent of all hospital beds, are still occupied by coronavirus patients, consistent with the Italian government.
The number of Italians requiring hospitalization remains high. Such a situation is particularly dangerous in Italy’s less advantaged south.
In Calabria, as its southern part was connected to corruption and mismanagement, the health care system has long been eroded. Three health commissioners were fired or quit in November. At the same time, the situation has gotten worse.
Covid-19 in Italy.
Ambulances wait in line outside of hospitals, the army has found field hospitals outside train stations. The prime minister, Mr. Conte, who introduced a replacement lockdown on Friday night over the Christmas holiday into the New Year, has asked for some assistance from the Italian humanitarian organization Emergency, which responded by taking 20 nurses and doctors to a hospital to the port city of Crotone.
In Naples, last month, a person with a suspected coronavirus infection died within the bathroom of the Cardarelli hospital’s packed ER. Patients waiting outside in their cars, with nurses distributed oxygen tanks to them. And doctors served extra shifts to satisfy the requirements of all the Covid patients.
“We killed ourselves,” said Alessandro Perrella, an communicable disease doctor within the hospital.
STILL ‘WORRISOME’ IN SPAIN
The initial outbreak of the virus within the spring caught Spain’s hospitals all of sudden. Many patients slept in corridors in the hospitals of Madrid and other Spanish cities. Altogether the reputation of a public health care system of which many Spanish had been proud so far, was undermined by Spain’s flat-footed reaction to the pandemic.
However, doctors and nurses seemed better prepared and therefore the equipment supply chain improved during this autumn.
The restrictions on the movement of individuals have achieved considerable improvements in some regions. The pressure was significantly eased on the country’s hospitals.