As coronavirus cases surge in the biggest infectious disease crisis to hit European hospitals in a century, officials and health-care workers are scrambling to keep national health systems above water.The grim harbinger of how bad things could get lies right in Europe’s midst, as Italy’s death toll leaps by hundreds each day. Doctors there are struggling to keep more than 2,800 people in intensive care alive, an effort that requires staff, beds and a constant supply of protective equipment.But countries are competing against one another for medical supplies on an international market that has been sucked dry. To address shortages, Spanish clothes manufacturers are turning their lines to making medical masks, and Parisian perfumers are producing hand sanitizer in an effort that harks back to wartime.As the number of critically ill rises, analysts expect even the continent’s best prepared health systems to be stretched to their limits.“There’s been nothing on this scale in the postwar period,” said Martin McKee, a professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “The problem is that health systems, we talk about them as adaptive, but they have the capacity to fall over. They can expand so much, but


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