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Prefectures unable to secure as many COVID-19 hospital beds as in first wave 

  • January 6, 2021
  • , Nikkei, Sankei
  • JMH Summary

Nikkei reported that recently prefectural governments across the country have not been able to secure enough hospital beds to accommodate coronavirus patients. The number of such beds in the current third wave amounts to 27,624, down from the 30,639 secured during the peak of the first wave last spring. The number of beds for seriously ill patients is currently 3,668, down by almost 600 from the first wave. The paper speculated that most prefectural governments let their guard down and did not move proactively to secure beds during the second peak in the summer as the virus spread predominantly among young people and there were not many patients in serious condition at the time. The daily said the prefectural governments relied on an infection scenario drawn up by public health experts that turned out to be overly optimistic. The paper added that according to data compiled by the Health Ministry last September, although roughly three out of four public hospitals accommodated COVID-19 patients, fewer than one out of five commercial hospitals did. The daily speculated that most private hospitals have steered clear of coronavirus patients based on the belief that medical fees for their treatment are not high enough. 


In a related story, Sankei front-paged data compiled by the Health Ministry showing that hospital bed occupancy rates topped 50% in nine prefectures as of Dec. 30, including Tokyo, Saitama, Aichi, Osaka, and Hyogo. Meanwhile, Asahi wrote that the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Tokyo topped 3,000 as of yesterday, while about 5,200 patients were isolating at home or in hotels. Some 86% of the secured hospital beds were occupied.     

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