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Coronavirus

Intensive Care Wards Across France Are Filling Up Again With COVID-19 Patients

PARIS — Intensive care wards across France are filling up again with COVID-19 patients. Doctors are scrambling to create new ICU beds elsewhere to accommodate the sick.

The COVID-19 patients now occupy 40% of ICU beds in the Paris region, and more than a quarter of ICUs nationwide, after infections among young people spread to vulnerable populations.

National health agency figures and doctors at multiple hospitals say France hasn’t added significant ICU capacity or the staff needed to manage them since the pandemic’s first wave. That’s despite France being among the hardest-hit nations in the spring.

The COVID-19 patients now occupy 1,427 ICU beds nationwide — a figure that has doubled in less than a month. France’s overall ICU capacity is 6,000.

The government defends its management of the virus crisis, and President Emmanuel Macron says it’s a question of “organization” and not resources.

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