Even as the insolvent EU scolded Russia for daring to ban imports of raw vegetables from EU countries 3 days ago releasing the following statement, "The European Commission protested to the Russian Federation this afternoon against the Russian ban imposed earlier today on all EU vegetable exports to Russia, and requested the immediate withdrawal of the measure" there is no chance that Russia will comply (adding insult to insolvency), following the latest report from Reuters that "German hospitals are struggling to cope with the flood of E.coli victims, Health Minister Daniel Bahr said on Sunday, as the death toll rose to 21 with more than 2,000 people infected across Europe....Hospitals in the northern port of Hamburg, epicenter of the outbreak that began three weeks ago, have been moving out patients with less serious illnesses to handle the surge of people stricken by a rare, highly toxic strain of the bacteria." Needless to say, this is good news for the Keynesians out there: in addition to earthquakes, volcanoes, rain, snow, floods, droughts, tsunamis and nuclear power plant explosions, worthless economists will now have viruses to blame for "one-time, non-recurring" misses to their latest set of expectations.
"We're facing a tense situation with patient care," Bahr told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday. He added hospitals outside Hamburg could be used to make up for "insufficient capacity" in Germany's second largest city.
At a news conference with Bahr in Hamburg, state health minister Cornelia Pruefer-Storcks said local officials were scrambling to relieve a looming shortage of doctors.
"We want to discuss with doctors about whether those who recently retired can be reactivated," she said, adding that medical staff in Hamburg was battling exhaustion.
Bahr later told N-TV network: "Those hospitals with enough capacity are supporting those that don't have enough capacity. That's the way we're getting control of the situation."
Authorities in Germany are racing to track down the source of the pathogen, which has infected people in 12 countries -- all of whom had been traveling in northern Germany.
Reinhard Burger, president of the Robert Koch Institute, the German center for disease control, said on Sunday the death toll had risen to 21.
Officials believe people were made ill by eating lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers or other raw salad vegetables in Germany. Scientists suspect the source of the contamination may have been poor hygiene at a farm, in transit, or in a shop or food outlet.
Many of those infected have developed haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), a potentially deadly complication attacking the kidneys.
The grissly details:
The rare strain of E.coli has the ability to stick to intestinal walls where it pumps out toxins, sometimes causing severe bloody diarrhoea and kidney problems. Some patients have needed intensive care, including dialysis. It has hit women more than men, and most of those who have died were elderly.
The resulting complete avoidance of salads may be good news for the stock of wienerschnitzel, wurst and spatzle makers. Also, a good time to short vegetarians:
Officials had identified a restaurant in the northern port city of Luebeck as a possible place where the bug had been passed to humans after at least 17 people infected with E.coli had eaten there and one later died from complications.
The proprietor of the German meat-and-potatoes restaurant told Reuters his kitchen tested negative for the deadly E.coli strain and none of his staff had fallen ill.
People in Hamburg were steering clear of salads.
"I'm a vegetarian, so it hits me especially hard," said taxi driver Wolfgang Roenisch. "I've stopped eating cucumbers, tomatoes and salad."
In other news, expect the "Hamburg Cell" to get a whole lot more press coverage in 5....4....3...