Corona updated: the infection rate at the country level continues to decline

The nationwide seven-day infection rate has fallen again. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) gave the value of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants and the week Sunday morning 1,346.3. For comparison: the previous day the value was 1350.4. A week ago, the nationwide infection rate was 1466.5 (previous month: 638.8). Health authorities in Germany have reported 118,032 new cases of corona in the RKI in one day.

73 people have died in connection with the virus. This brings the number of reported deaths to 121,275. So far, nearly 13.6 million coronavirus tests have been positive in Germany.

However, experts assume a large number of cases that were not recorded in the RKI data. Thus, testing capabilities and health authorities are at their limit in many places, and contact tracing is only to a limited extent. In addition, there are likely to be more people who no longer have confirmation of their infection with a PCR test – the infection is therefore not included in the official statistics. You can find more information on this in the Transparency Blog, and more data and graphics on the pandemic here. (02/20/2022)

Biden extends the Corona emergency

US President Joe Biden extended the national emergency beyond March 1 due to the Covid 19 pandemic. By that date, the state of emergency declared by former President Donald Trump in 2020 had automatically ended. Biden said 900,000 Americans have already died from Covid-19. So it is still essential for the federal government to be able to respond to the pandemic with all its might. (02/19/2022)

The federal government removes nearly 20 countries from the risk list

The federal government is removing nearly 20 countries from the list of high-risk areas for corona this Sunday, including Great Britain, Ireland, Spain and the USA. This was announced by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). Tunisia, Morocco and India, among other countries, will also be removed from the list. It is easy for travelers from countries that are no longer classified as high-risk areas to return to Germany. This time, no new country was designated as a high-risk area. Anyone who enters the country from a high-risk area and has not been fully vaccinated – usually twice – or recovers, must be in quarantine for ten days and can free themselves from it as soon as five days after entering with a negative test. For children under the age of six, isolation ends automatically five days after admission. The designation as a high-risk area is associated with a travel warning from the Federal Department of State for non-essential tourist trips. It’s easy for tourists to cancel flights that are already booked for free, but that doesn’t mean a travel ban.

Countries and regions with a high risk of infection are categorized as high risk areas. However, it is not only the number of infections that is the determining factor in this. Other criteria are the speed at which the virus is spreading, the burden on the healthcare system and the lack of data on the case of the coronavirus. (02/18/2022)

Lauterbach: “As much as we can afford to relax”

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) is appealing to prime ministers not to go beyond the easing of the coronavirus measures outlined at the last federal meeting of the state. He said before the federal press conference that this was “everything sewn on edge” and “as far as we can afford to relax.” Thanks to various measures, “it has so far succeeded in traversing the omicron wave”. However, a renewed increase in the number of cases cannot be ruled out. Lauterbach said he supports a conservative approach, which has repeatedly called for fairly strict restrictions. “We are not in safe water yet.”

The SPD politician said the Omicron BA.2 variant was more contagious than the previously dominant BA.1 variant. One must also assume that the cycles are somewhat more serious, although this has so far been proven only in animal studies. For now, Lauterbach said, he sees no risk of hospitals being overburdened. RKI reports in its weekly report that the proportion of corona cases examined by BA.2 in a sample has recently risen to 14.9%.

RKI Vice President Lars Schaad said he does not expect the virus to disappear in the medium term. “We have to be prepared for the fact that there will be more waves of Covid.” Even if the peak of the omicron wave is exceeded now, it does not mean that there is any relaxation, especially for hospitals. “The peak for intensive care units has not yet been reached.” The risk of infection remains high, and the elderly need to be more protected. Lauterbach prepared people for many years to face the threat of a pandemic. One could think of that in a ten-year period.

Lauterbach also made some announcements for the next week: “On Monday we expect 1.4 million doses of Novavax,” he announced the delivery of the so-called inactivated vaccine. These should be used primarily to implement compulsory vaccination in nursing homes or for the elderly. Lauterbach also said he wanted to provide details of the care premium as early as next week. The Social Democratic Party, the Green Party and the Free Democratic Party had agreed in the coalition agreement to make available one billion euros for the reward. The stipend must be paid to nurses who have been particularly affected by the pandemic. Concrete details were repeatedly postponed, first to the beginning and then to the end of January.

In an interview with taz The Minister of Health also criticizes the reporting of picture– A sharp newspaper about his politics. “The pictureHe said that -Zeitung and Springer-Verlag are campaigning against me and spreading lies. Their goal is to “reduce the epidemic and discredit preventive measures.”

The picture Under the headline last Thursday: “Intensive care units were not overburdened.” In an interview with taz Lauterbach said that this is a “perversion manipulation” of picture maybe. At the height of the epidemic, 70 percent of intensive care units were “partially or completely overloaded”. “There was no nationwide overload of the health system, so it wasn’t there in all places at the same time,” the minister said. However, Corona patients had to be transferred from one federal state to another or even abroad due to the lack of intensive care beds. The fact that the situation was so dramatic was that pictureLauterbach added that the editors are well aware. “The pictureZeitung knows it and gets out of it: There was never a threat. This is a manipulation trick.” (02/18/2022)

More than 200 MPs support compulsory vaccination from the age of 18

According to a media report, more than 200 members of the Bundestag have signed a request to provide a general vaccination against Corona from the age of 18. “So far, 218 deputies have joined our proposal to introduce universal compulsory vaccination and more are being added every hour,” said Dagmar Schmidt, deputy leader of the SPD parliamentary group. Rheinische Post. This means that the app has broad support and forms the basis for the first reading in the Bundestag planned for March.

According to the newspaper’s report, the signatories are 153 from the Social Democrats, 60 from the Greens, three politicians from the Free Democratic Party and two from the left. The Bundestag has a total of 736 deputies, so the number of signatories is still far from a majority.

The draft will be discussed in the Bundestag as well as a competing proposal for the possibility of introducing compulsory vaccination from the age of 50 and a movement against compulsory vaccination without party pressure. The Federation faction also submitted its own application, which initially only provides a vaccination record and then a tiered plan with a potential vaccination obligation for certain groups depending on the epidemic situation. Traffic light partners agreed to a first reading on March 14th. (02/18/2022)

RKI Weekly Report: Omicron variant BA.2 is increasing significantly

The BA.2 variant of Omikron, which can be transferred more quickly according to preliminary results, has increased significantly in Germany according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). The International Corona Institute recorded in its weekly report that the proportion of corona cases examined in a sample had recently risen to 14.9 percent. This information refers to the week until February 6 – for the previous week, the RKI index gives the share at 10.4 percent.

It is true that there is not enough data yet to be able to make a more accurate assessment of the characteristics of the subtype in relation to the severity of the disease. However, given the gradual prevalence and ease of transmission of BA.2, “a slower decline or a renewed increase in the number of cases cannot be ruled out,” she said.

Thus, the planned relaxation of the corona scales and a concomitant increase in contacts could contribute to such a development. Recently, experts have increasingly pointed to BA.2 as a potential uncertainty factor. In countries such as Denmark, the subgenre has already spread rapidly. Thus, this is also possible in Germany and, according to many, can guarantee the expansion of the omicron wave.

The burden on intensive care units remains high. As of Wednesday, 2,466 patients who tested positive for coronavirus were being treated in intensive care units – a week earlier the number was 2,398.

In light of the planned facilitation of the Corona measures, the RKI also warns that special consideration should be given when dealing with vulnerable groups. The number of coronavirus outbreaks in nursing homes and nursing homes rose again in the week to February 13, the weekly report shows. The number of active outbreaks in nursing homes increased to 414 (previous week: 373). 5,226 cases have been reported as a result of these outbreaks. In medical treatment facilities, the number of active outbreaks remained “stable, but at a high level”. (02/18/2022)

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