Since December 2019 a novel coronavirus (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, SARS-CoV-2) has rapidly spread around the world resulting in an acute respiratory illness pandemic. The immense challenges for clinicians and hospitals as well as the strain on many healthcare systems has been unprecedented.The majority of patients present with mild symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); however, 5-8% become critically ill and require intensive care treatment. Acute hypoxemic respiratory failure with severe dyspnea and an increased respiratory rate (>30/min) usually leads to intensive care unit (ICU) admission. At this point bilateral pulmonary infiltrates are typically seen. Patients often develop a severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).So far, remdesivir and dexamethasone have shown clinical effectiveness in severe COVID-19 in hospitalized patients. The main goal of supportive treatment is to ascertain adequate oxygenation. Invasive mechanical ventilation and repeated prone positioning are key elements in treating severely hypoxemic COVID-19 patients.Strict adherence to basic infection control measures (including hand hygiene) and correct use of personal protection equipment (PPE) are essential in the care of patients. Procedures that lead to formation of aerosols should be carried out with utmost precaution and preparation.