21:56 / 01.01.2022.

Author: Katja Miličić

The last year in COVID: many more cases, many more deaths

Doctors and nurses at Fran Mihalejvić Hospital on NYE

Doctors and nurses at Fran Mihalejvić Hospital on NYE

Foto: HRT / HTV

Croatia entered into 2021 amid the second wave of the pandemic. Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths were already high and at the end of 2021, those numbers were several times higher. 

Of the more than 12,500 COVID-19 deaths in Croatia, 8 thousand of them occurred in 2021. Although Croatia is in the fourth wave of the pandemic, experts warn the Omicron variant could fuel a fifth wave early this year. Croatia has already confirmed 51 cases of Omicron.

On New Year’s Eve HRT spoke to staff treating Covid patients at Fran Mihaljević hospital in Zagreb on New Year's Eve. Nurse Željka Rašić says the year has been tough.

"Regardless of how hard we fight it and try to keep a professional distance, when we go home, we often call to ask how our patients are doing. Are they stable? What eats us up during this pandemic is entire families who are in the hospital. A father in intensive care, his son in another wing," she recounts.

Dr. Marija Santini treated a patient in critical condition on New Year’s Eve. The patient has acute pneumonia and had to be reanimated. She hopes people will finally come around to taking COVID more seriously in 2022.

"I wish that we could establish good cooperation, first and foremost with the public, so that they can finally grasp that this is a serious illness,” Dr. Santini said.

The hospital’s youngest adult patient is 28, a woman who recently gave birth and developed serious COVID symptoms.

“This is the saddest part of all this,” Dr. Santini says.

Dr. Lorna Stemberger Marić works at the Children’s Wing of the hospital and is treating two young patients in intensive care. Both were on a non-invasive ventilator but are now only on oxygen. Good news, the doctor says, adding that she would like to see a bit more solidarity throughout the country in 2022.

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