Excess mortality due to overload in intensive care units

Robert Klatt

The occupancy of the intensive care units with Covid-19 patients increases the mortality rate in the general population in a timely manner. The Covid-19 pandemic is therefore also indirectly causing many additional deaths.

Washington, D.C. (U.S.A.). In medicine, the occupancy of intensive care units is a stress indicator for the entire health system. A group from the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has therefore examined whether the occupancy rate of intensive care units in clinics in the USA is related to excess mortality in the general population.

According to the im Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) published study, there is a lack of treatment options for patients with injuries and other diseases when all beds are occupied by Covid 19 patients. This leads to suboptimal treatments. A study from England also shows that there were more cardiovascular deaths during the Covid-19 pandemic because people were not treated properly due to overburdened hospitals or because they were afraid of infection.

Additional deaths from overload

The data from the USA show that the influence on excess deaths due to the occupancy of intensive care units with Covid 19 patients is small up to an occupancy rate of 50 percent. After that, an exponential increase begins. According to calculations by Geoffrey French, an intensive care unit occupancy rate of 75 percent two weeks later leads to 12,000 additional deaths. With an occupancy rate of 100 percent, there are 80,000 additional deaths in the USA after two weeks, according to the calculation model.

Higher general population mortality

On October 25, 2021, according to French, the intensive care units in the USA had already been 75 percent full for three months. Based on the study data, it can therefore be assumed that the Covid 19 pandemic has already indirectly led to significantly more deaths. The now active delta wave will again significantly increase mortality in the general population.

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm7046a5

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *