ECDC: COVID-19 not containable, set to overwhelm hospitals | CIDRAP

Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Global Case Map

Doctors in Italy face grim decisions about whom to save.

Update today, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said that, in a few weeks or even days, other countries in the region may face huge surges that mirror those of China and Italy.
It advised countries to quickly shift to mitigation strategies to protect vulnerable people and prevent overwhelmed hospitals.
Reports of dire conditions in hospitals in Italy's hot spots have been circulating on social media for the past few weeks and are now appearing in a medical journal and media reports. The ECDC acknowledges that high numbers of patients needing ventilation have exceeded the intensive care unit (ICU) capacity in some healthcare facilities in northern Italy.

Life-and-death decisions in Italy's inundated hospitals
In a Lancet report today, two authors from Italy said the percentage of COVID-19 patients needing ICU treatment has ranged from 9% to 11% and that ICUs will be at maximum capacity if that trend continues for 1 more week. They predicted that Italy will need 4,000 more ICU beds over the next month, a challenge given that the country has about 5,200 ICU beds.

Countries on track for Hubei scenarios, ECDC warns

In its assessment today, the ECDC said the risk of severe disease is moderate for the general population but high for older people and those with underlying medical conditions. Increased community transmission may exceed health system capacities in the coming weeks, it said, and countries should act now to step up hospital infection control and surge capacity.
The ECDC said estimates for hospital care suggest that most European countries could reach Hubei province scenarios by the end of March, with all countries reaching that point by mid-April.

The group urged member countries to implement social distancing measures such as canceling mass gatherings and cordoning off hotspots early to slow outbreaks and give health systems more time to prepare for an influx of patients.
Italy's health ministry today reported 2,651 new cases and 189 more deaths, raising its respective totals to 15,113 cases and 1,016 deaths. Spain's total today rose to 3,126 cases, with the addition of 782 more today. France's total rising to 2,876, with the addition of 595 more. The United Kingdom reported 134 new cases, boosting its total to 590.
South Korea cases decline again
South Korea today reported 114 new cases, with 6 more deaths, raising its overall respective totals to 7,869 and 66, according to the Korea Center for Disease Control. It said 80% of cases are linked to clusters, including 99 illnesses recently linked to an insurance company call center in Seoul.
In other developments in Asia:
Japan today reported 55 more cases, 6 of them listed as asymptomatic carriers, from 11 prefectures, according to the country's health ministry. Its overall total is 602, plus 72 asymptomatic carriers.
Singapore today reported 9 more cases, 3 linked to a dinner function, 5 imported, and 1 under investigation, raising the total to 187, the health ministry said in an update. In a separate statement, the country's Islamic Religious Council announced the temporary closure of mosques after 90 citizens attended a mass event in Kuala Lumpur, where several tested positive for COVID-19.
China today reported 15 new cases, 8 from Hubei province, as well as 11 more deaths, raising its overall total to 80,793, which includes 3,169 deaths, according to the country's National Health Commission.

ECDC: COVID-19 not containable, set to overwhelm hospitals | CIDRAP: