Take "social distancing" seriously!

Göttingen researchers warn of shortage of intensive care beds for coronavirus patients

March 19, 2020

In light of the rapidly increasing number of known coronavirus infections in Germany and Europe, scientists across the Göttingen Campus have expressed serious concerns. This is due to the latest estimate of the number of cases expected in the coming weeks and the number of intensive care beds available in Germany. Although the measures taken by the Federal Government and the individual states to limit the increase are restrictive, the researchers believe that they are urgently needed.

“If these and, as may prove necessary, further measures are not implemented immediately and followed by all of us, it is to be feared that in the coming weeks there will not be enough intensive care beds available in Germany,” the scientists of the Göttingen COVID-19 Task Force unanimously agreed. “This will not only make it difficult to save the lives of critically ill coronavirus patients, but also make life-saving interventions for other diseases and accidents difficult.”

To this end, the researchers have presented the anticipated outcome clearly in a graph. This is regularly updated at www.goettingen-campus.de/coronavirus. The uncertainties in this projection are naturally still very large, but the trend is clear.

Whether the German hospitals can cope with this development or whether we will be facing the same emergency situation that Italy currently faces, depends on whether the measures in Germany are followed now. If not, there is a very real fear that the number of available intensive care places will be used up in just a few weeks.

“It is therefore necessary to urgently implement even more strictly the measures for social distancing demanded by experts and designated by the central government and individual states,” the researchers said. “To achieve this, we must all change our behaviour immediately and temporarily reduce the number of social contacts to an absolute minimum, both professionally and privately. Even if the results of social distancing only become visible after several days, we must act now.”

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