Health News

Roche CEO says 'plenty of room' in ICUs, doubts hospital lockdown

FILE PHOTO: CEO Severin Schwan of Swiss drugmaker Roche attends the company's annual news conference in Basel, Switzerland January 30, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - There is “plenty of room” in most intensive care units despite rapidly rising COVID-19 infections globally, Roche Chief Executive Severin Schwan said on Thursday, adding a renewed hospital lockdown like early in the pandemic is unlikely in coming months.

“Hospitals are not even close to the capacity limits at this stage,” Schwan told analysts on a call. “Capacity usage is still extremely low, and there is plenty of room in intensive care units. So from all the conversations I have with our customers it’s very difficult to imagine that we will run into a lockdown of the health care system.”

Even so, Roche predicts the virus is endemic, meaning that society will grapple with COVID-19 for years and years to come. “This virus is not going to go away anymore,” Roche diagnostics head Thomas Schinecker said on the same call.

Reporting by John Miller, editing by John Revill