RKI reports 15,741 new infections – Spahn advocates rapid tests in schools

Hygiene and distance rules not only reduce the spread of Covid-19, but also that of other infectious diseases such as flu. According to a simulation study, US researchers warn that the temporarily reduced contact with other pathogens could lead to humans more susceptible to such infections later be. Independent German experts emphasize that the work contains a lot of speculation.

Corona measures such as keeping your distance and wearing masks have been proven to protect against Covid-19, writes the team led by epidemiologist Rachel Baker from Princeton University (USA) in the “Proceedings” of the US National Academy of Sciences (“PNAS”). This also applies to other infectious diseases. “A decline in the number of cases of several respiratory pathogens has recently been observed in many locations around the world.”

Baker’s team assumes that the reduced contact with pathogens can later increase the susceptibility of the population to various infections. It used various models to simulate how this could affect the spread of two pathogens: the influenza virus and the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which causes respiratory diseases, especially in young children. He estimates that the number of RSV infections in the US has fallen by about 20 percent since the measures began.

On this basis, the authors calculate that also short-term measures delayed an increase in RSV infections and the flu could lead. However, they themselves admit that predictions about flu waves are problematic due to the diversity of these viruses. This is actually a weak point of the study, says the virologist Gülsah Gabriel from the Heinrich Pette Institute in Hamburg. “Influenza A viruses are changeable and adaptable.”


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