Coronavirus death toll rises, obese corona patients dominate in intensive care

The death toll from coronavirus in the Netherlands rose by 93 to 639 on Saturday, the public health institute RIVM said in its latest update.

The number of positive tests for the virus rose by 1,159 to 9,762 while nearly 3,000 people have been, or are still hospitalised, the RIVM said.

The rise in hospital admissions and in intensive care patients continues to increase at a slower pace than would have been expected if measures had not been taken, the RIVM said.

And the health institute said again that if this situation continues for a few more days, officials will be able to confirm whether or not the social distancing and other government measures have having an effect.

Noord-Brabant province remains accountable for the biggest share of the positive tests, with around 27% of the total, the RIVM figures show. But in Zuid-Holland province in particular, the number of hospital admissions is rising faster than in other provinces, the RIVM said.


Meanwhile, Diederik Gommers, chairman of the Dutch intensive care association, told television talk show Jinek on Friday evening that 66% to 80% of corona patients on intensive care wards that he had seen are overweight.

The reason has not yet been investigated, but Gommers said it could be linked to the prevalence of diabetes among obese people, which would make them more vulnerable to the virus. In addition, the extra weight can also make breathing more difficult, he said.

A specialist on the programme gave a similar picture. ‘Almost all the patients on an IC ward are overweight,’ Peter van der Voort of Groningen University’s teaching hospital said. ‘We don’t know why, but it is very noticeable.’


As the number of hospital admissions continues to rise, efforts are continuing to expand the number of intensive care beds.

Philips has delivered 100 new respirators and patient monitoring systems to the Netherlands, out of a total order of 1,000 each, health minister Martin van Rijn said on Twitter.

The rest of the order, which originated in the US, will be delivered in the coming weeks, the minister said. The arrival of the new machinery will allow the number of intensive care beds in Dutch hospitals to be expanded.

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