COVID-19 | Coronavirus

“AP-HP hospitals have never faced a phenomenon of this magnitude,” says Martin Hirsch

Martin Hirsch at the headquarters of the Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), March 13.
Martin Hirsch at the headquarters of the Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), March 13. BRUNO FERT FOR “THE WORLD”

Martin Hirsch is the director general of the Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), the leading hospital group in France, with thirty-nine establishments and nearly ten million patients admitted each year. It details the mobilization deployed against the coronavirus, while the World Health Organization (WHO) now believes that Europe is the“Epicenter” of the pandemic.

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The Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, announced on Friday March 13 that 800 new cases of contamination had been identified in twenty-four hours, bringing the total number to 3,661 since the start of the epidemic. On this balance sheet, 79 people died and 154 are found still in serious condition, especially in the intensive care unit.

Is this the worst crisis the AP-HP has faced in its history?

The AP-HP has already had to face great challenges such as the care of HIV patients in the years 1980-1990 or the victims of the attacks in 2015 but I never think, in memory of professionals, it has ever was faced with a phenomenon of such magnitude with such speed and such high complexity. I would even say, of such violence.

What can we expect in the next few days in the group’s hospitals?

Of the approximately 900 screening tests carried out yesterday in our centers, approximately 20% were positive. A stable proportion for a few days. With the same indications, we had a much lower rate last week. In five days, the number of resuscitation patients has increased from 39 to 89 in our hospitals, and there will be more every day.

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If you look at what’s going on in other countries, there may be an increase in severe cases from 20% to 30% per day. This is what we know today. This would represent 400 patients simultaneously requiring critical care in Ile-de-France within ten to fifteen days. We may readjust if we deviate from the curve we are currently observing and when we have more perspective on the length of their stay in intensive care.

Is this the high end of the scenarios you have worked on?

Our experts have established three scenarios. We now consider ourselves to be in the middle scenario. It is closest to the reality observed today and seems to be most in line with what has been observed in other countries. The models show a steady progression of cases, then a plateau, and a slow decrease in cases. Every day, we check where we are against our projections, and if we deviate from it, we will have to adapt our response.

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