A second COVID-19 wave had already reached Germany, the German trade union of doctors, Marburger Bund, announced on Tuesday.
“We are already in a second, flat wave of increases,” Susanne Johna, first chairperson of the Marburger Bund told the German newspaper Augsburger Allgemeine on Tuesday. The second wave was not comparable with the high daily case figures recorded in March and April.
“There is a danger that we will gamble away the successes we have achieved so far in Germany in a combination of suppression and a longing for normality,” stressed Johna.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany, more than 6,000 new infections had been recorded by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in a single day. Between late June and early July, no more than 500 daily COVID-19 cases had been reported to the RKI.
But it recorded an increasing number of new infections again in recent weeks. As of Tuesday, new infections with COVID-19 in Germany rose by 879 within one day to 211,281 while the number of coronavirus-related deaths stood at 9,156.
According to Johna, German hospitals were prepared for a second wave. In contrast to the first wave, however, hospitals should not generally keep a fixed amount of unoccupied beds for COVID-19 patients but instead manage beds in a demand-orientated way.
“Because the pandemic is building up slowly, we need to provide graduated treatment options for COVID-19 patients,” stressed Johna.
As a first step, the number of intensive care beds kept free for COVID-19 patients would be reduced, according to Marburger Bund. If these beds were occupied, stage two would come into effect 24 hours later and capacities of intensive care units in the hospital in question would be expanded.
“This will continue step by step until, in the highest alarm and expansion stage, all intensive care capacities available for COVID-19 patients are used up,” explained Johna.
According to the online registry of intensive care beds in German hospitals by German interdisciplinary association for intensive and emergency medicine (DIVI), 270 patients infected with COVID-19 were currently undergoing intensive care treatment, almost half of patients were being artificially ventilated.
In total, of the more than 32,000 intensive care beds in Germany, 20,785 were currently in use, according to the DIVI online registry.
“We all long for normality. We simply are in a situation that is not normal,” stressed Johna, adding that as long as there were no drugs to treat COVID-19, the spread of the coronavirus had to be contained.