Doctor Çelik, you are senior physician in the isolation ward for Covid-19 patients at the Darmstadt Clinic;

we talk regularly about the state of affairs.

How is the situation right now?

Julia Anton

Society Coordinator.

  • Follow I follow

Unfortunately, the entire hospital is very busy, so we are under a lot of pressure.

Since our last conversation in October, the number of Covid patients in our clinic and on our Covid wards has leveled off at a similar level, so it is still quite high.

We have occupied one and a half wards since then, and there are also Covid-infected people spread throughout the house, currently there are 73. During this time there was sometimes more, sometimes less pressure, but we have maintained the size of the Covid ward.

Patients who require oxygen come to us on the normal Covid ward.

But there has been a change since October: There is no longer a drastic rise or fall, but the comings and goings are balanced despite fluctuations.

There was an exception right after Christmas.

Suddenly there were many patients who sat out the holidays.

We are noticing that the additional burden of illness caused by Covid is also tending to decrease among our seriously ill patients.

What does that mean?

The coronavirus is currently affecting older and seriously ill patients, as well as cancer patients and people with severe immune disorders.

Overall, we therefore care for a large number of patients who are already very ill on our ward.

But the burden of illness, which is added to them by Covid-19, has tended to decrease in recent months.

Mortality is therefore also falling and we have to transfer to the intensive care unit less often.

Nevertheless, these people continue to end up in our clinic and of course we have to take care of all their illnesses, not just Covid-19.

Interestingly, Covid-19 is often a major reason for hospitalization, but not the focus of inpatient therapy.

Do you still see a difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated patients?

If we are currently taking in symptomatic Covid patients, you can almost estimate their vaccination and immune status based on their age.

If someone under 60 ends up on our ward, chances are they have decided against full vaccination.

The average age in our ward is over 75 years.

Patients under 60 are usually not vaccinated or suffer from a severe immune disorder.

Have patients come to you who have been vaccinated four times?

Yes, that too. We have many elderly patients.

The following still applies: the older the patient, the greater the risk that someone will develop symptoms despite being vaccinated and need to be treated in hospital.

We have patients over the age of 90 for whom the fourth vaccination can be life-saving but cannot prevent hospital admission.

This also applies to those with serious pre-existing conditions.

It was also the first public holiday without restrictions.

Is it possible to say whether more people have become infected who now need treatment?

I think there are a few instances, but without changing the overall dynamic.

We have had more admissions in the past few days, but we have also been able to discharge more patients, as expected.

We are now in a phase of high immunity in the population, so there is no longer such a sudden increase in the burden of disease in the population.

So the situation is no longer comparable to two years ago.

In an interview shortly before the turn of the year, Christian Drosten said: "The pandemic is over." Does that match your impressions from the clinic?