Children are feverish, coughing, crying, doctors and nurses are reaching their limits, parents are very worried.

In the slipstream of the corona pandemic, many other cold and infectious diseases are currently spreading, especially the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

The Covid-19 incidence is stagnating, as reported by the Robert Koch Institute, but acute respiratory diseases are increasing according to the Grippe-Web information service: the number of cases is far higher than that of the previous year.

Christian Geinitz

Business correspondent in Berlin

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The causes are still unclear, it is possible that the fewer contacts, the hygiene rules, keeping your distance and wearing a mask during the corona period have reduced exposure and thus natural immunization with other pathogens to such an extent that the population is now more susceptible.

This is particularly unfavorable for children who become infected with RSV, which can severely affect infants and small children.

In the case of severe cases, the boys and girls have to go to the hospital, but beds there are scarce.

On the one hand because of the frequent occurrence of cases, on the other hand because there is a lack of medical and nursing staff, many workers are on sick leave.

The German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (DIVI) warned on Thursday that 43 of the 110 children's hospitals surveyed no longer had a free bed in normal wards.

In the intensive care units, every second clinic has had to reject at least one child in the past 24 hours.

Mathematically, there is less than one free children's intensive care bed per location.

The responsible Divi specialist Florian Hoffmann spoke of a "catastrophic situation".

The situation is serious, but not critical

Tobias Tenenbaum, chief physician at the clinic for paediatrics and youth medicine at the Sana-Klinikum Berlin-Lichtenberg, says that both the practices of the resident paediatricians and the clinics are "overflowing".

In order to help, nurses from adult wards would actually have to be deployed.

But that would only be possible if the stations that gave up were compensated financially, since then they would not be able to occupy beds.

"Just as our people from the children's wards were working with adults during the corona pandemic, it should also be possible the other way around in the current emergency situation," says Tenenbaum, who is also head of the German Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases.

The situation is serious, but not critical, says Gerald Gass, CEO of the German Hospital Society DKG.

"I understand everyone who is worried, but it is not the case that children are not cared for when they have urgent medical treatment needs," says Gaß of the FAZ. He also observes that there are longer waiting times for hospital admission and sometimes houses that are further away have to be controlled, "but the supply still takes place".

The delayed treatment with detours is an "unusual situation" for parents and patients, but the rule in other countries, "in Great Britain it's everyday business".