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germany: Merkel: ‘Sad day’ as Germany marks 100,000 deaths from Covid

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BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel labelled Thursday “a very sad day” and backed calls for more restrictions, as her country became the latest to surpass 100,000 deaths from Covid-19 since the pandemic began.
The national disease control agency said it recorded 351 deaths in connection with the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, taking the total toll to 100,119. In Europe, Germany is the fifth country to pass that mark, after Russia, the United Kingdom, Italy and France.
“It is of course a very sad day that we have to mourn 100,000 victims of the coronavirus,” Merkel said at a news conference in Berlin. “And unfortunately, at the moment, more than 300 deaths are being added to that each day.”
The long-time German leader, who is currently in office as caretaker until her successor is sworn in, warned that hundreds more deaths were already looming.
“(The deaths) correlate very clearly with the number of infections that are occurring,” she said. “We know how many people on average do not survive this disease.”
The Robert Koch Institute, a federal agency that collects data from some 400 regional health offices, said Germany set a record for daily confirmed cases – 75,961 – in the past 24-hour period. Since the start of the outbreak, Germany has had more than 5.57 million confirmed cases of Covid-19.
“The situation is so serious because we are still in an exponential growth and because the cases that we see getting sick today are basically the patients who will be in intensive care in 10 or 14 days,” Merkel said.
She welcomed an announcement by Germany’s government-in-waiting on Wednesday that it will create a new permanent expert group to advise officials on how to tackle the pandemic.
While the number of daily infections is higher than that seen during the last winter surge, there are currently fewer daily deaths per confirmed cases. Experts argue this is because of vaccinations, which reduce the likelihood of serious illness.
Still, hospitals have warned that intensive care beds are running out, with almost 4,000 already occupied by Covid-19 patients. Some hospitals in the country’s south and east have begun transferring patients to other regions.
The German air force has put two specialized medevac planes on stand-by to airlift ICU patients to regions with free beds.
The general manager of the Bavarian hospitals’ association, Roland Engehausen, said the number of new cases needs to come down sharply.
“Otherwise we’re going to have a dramatic situation between Christmas and New Year’s the likes of which we haven’t seen yet,” he told German news agency dpa.
Saxony, to the northeast, became the first German state to record a weekly number of confirmed cases above 1,000 per 100,000 inhabitants Thursday. It has the lowest vaccination rate – at 57.9% – among Germany’s 16 states.
The government has urged people who were vaccinated more than six months ago to get boosters, and those who haven’t been inoculated at all to get their first shot. Officials say 68.1% of Germany’s 83 million inhabitants are fully vaccinated, far below the minimum level of 75% the government has aimed for.
Center-left leader Olaf Scholz, who is poised to succeed Merkel as chancellor next month, called Wednesday for mandatory vaccinations in nursing homes that care for particularly vulnerable people – and left open the possibility of extending the measure to others.
“Vaccinations are the way out of this pandemic,” Scholz said.
His Social Democratic Party’s health expert Karl Lauterbach, a trained epidemiologist, cited the case of Bayern Munich soccer star Joshua Kimmich as a cautionary tale for those who believe they can avoid both the virus and the vaccine. Kimmich, who had hesitated to get the shot, tested positive this week. Bayern said Wednesday that Kimmich was “doing well.“
“The case shows how difficult it is for unvaccinated people to avoid Covid these days,” Lauterbach said on Twitter.
Merkel didn’t address the question of compulsory vaccinations for all, that some senior German officials and the country’s association of intesive care doctors have proposed. But she said there should be “more restrictions on contacts.”

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Marcus Lamb, a Christian Broadcaster and Vaccine Skeptic, Dies of Covid – The New York Times

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Marcus Lamb, a Christian Broadcaster and Vaccine Skeptic, Dies of Covid  The New York Times

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Wicked Movie Looking To Cast Wheelchair User For Nessarose Role – Screen Rant

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Covid forces hospitals to rejig expansion plans | Kolkata News

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Kolkata: Covid has forced several private hospitals, which had been planning an expansion, to rush back to drawing boards and revise their projects.
While for some, the projects have been delayed, others have decided to go ahead with a restricted expansion in a desperate bid to enhance revenues. Yet others have stuck to their original expansion plan, taking the pandemic to be the right opportunity to enhance investment despite the barriers of logistics and funds.
Belle Vue Clinic had announced a massive expansion plan in 2019 that was deferred. It was to build two hospitals in New Town—a 400-bed multi-speciality hospital and a 168-bed general hospital. Both were to be inaugurated in 2023. But Covid has pushed back the projects by three years. “Due to the pandemic, we could not begin construction work last year, as had been planned. Now, there has been a sharp escalation in construction material cost, which has forced us to redraw the projects and invite fresh tenders. The project cost has been revised and we are working out the details. We hope to be able to start construction early next year and complete the hospitals by 2025-26,” said Belle Vue CEO P Tondon.
Peerless Hospital is ready to add a new unit at its existing premises off E M Bypass that will be shortly announced. According to hospital officials, Covid-induced rise in expenditure and revenue loss over the past 20 months have forced the hospital to think of ways to augment earnings. “In the prevailing situation, no hospital can afford to sit back and wait for things to get normal. Over the last year and half, it has been a roller- coaster ride for us with Covid patients swelling with the first and second waves and revenue from non-Covid treatment taking a hit. We need to expand, not only in terms of the number of beds but in other services as well,” said a Peerless official.
Medica Superspecialty Hospital has decided to go ahead with its Rs 600-crore expansion plan that includes new units in Kolkata, Siliguri and Ranchi. The group also plans to buy a hospital in Kolkata or in any other eastern city.
The new Medica units include a 200-bed oncology centre in Kolkata and a 100-bed general unit at its Siliguri hospital, apart from two 50-bed oncology units at Ranchi and Siliguri. “We are going to invest Rs 600 crore on expansion over the next one-two years. This is the right time to invest despite the pandemic and the challenges it poses. The healthcare market, in fact, will now expand due to the pandemic and we see a lot more spending on health over the next four years. While people have lost lives and have become cautious, the government, too, has realized the importance of health investment and introduced schemes, like Swasthya Saathi, that will encourage a demand for private healthcare services,” said Medica chairperson Alok Roy.
He added that health insurance now has a lot more takers. Medica’s new units in Kolkata and Siliguri will be functional by April, 2020, while the Ranchi unit will get off the blocks in September.
Woodlands Hospital is setting up a 100-bed advanced cancer unit. “We didn’t face any major delay or stoppage of work due to Covid,” said Rupali Basu, MD & CEO, Woodlands.
Ruby General Hospital chose to expand its existing 268-bed unit on E M Bypass despite Covid and the logistical difficulties that it posed. It has added 38 beds and will eventually have 356 beds by next year. “The project was announced before the onset of pandemic and we decided to go ahead with it. We needed to expand irrespective of the pandemic,” said Ruby general manager-operations Subhashish Datta.

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