Europe, the current epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, continues to see an increase in virus-related deaths. On 24 March, the death toll in Italy rose by 743 within 24 hours, raising its total fatalities to 6,820. This marks a reverse in the declining trend of deaths in the hardest hit European country for the past two days.
Spain, the second worst-hit country in the region, added 462 new deaths to its toll, increasing the total number of fatalities to 2,182. Similarly, France recorded 240 more deaths from COVID-19 on the same day. The recent increase brings the toll to 1,100. About 2,516 are reportedly in need of life support as well.
Spain, in particular, is feeling the strain in its health care system. Front line medical practitioners comprise about 14% of confirmed coronavirus cases in Spain – or roughly 5,400 out of 40,000, according to the Spanish health ministry. Spain is the first country to report a double-digit percentage of health care workers having been infected.
A tally from the French public hospital system states that there are 490 cases of infection among staff numbers. While that figure is small, it may soon grow over time and bear its weight on the hospital system’s 100,000-strong staff. It is also highly probably that the United States and the United Kingdom may have the same experience.
A number of health workers have already died from COVID-19 in Spain, France and Italy.