“Fight against Covid-19: shadow and light”

The editorial of Figaro, by Cyrille Vanlerberghe.

Cyrille Vanlerberghe.
Cyrille Vanlerberghe. Le Figaro

You don’t have to be a professor of virology to understand that the fight against the Covid-19 epidemic is not well underway. The dreaded second wave is here, without a doubt. France set a sad record on Thursday: that of the highest number of new positive tests in all of Europe, with 41,622 confirmed cases in a single day. With an understandable lag effect, the death curve follows the same trend. The 162 deaths recorded on Thursday are comparable to what the country experienced on March 23, less than a week after the start of containment. A parallel that has certainly not escaped Jean Castex, who posed the threat of a new total blockage of the country by warning that it would be necessary “Consider much harsher measures” that the curfew if the epidemic was not contained in the coming days.

The temptation is strong to want to overwhelm the government, it is true guilty of a difficult to read strategy often giving a sad impression of improvisation

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Benefits of blanket restrictions for gastronomy not proven – health

At first glance, the equation is very simple: fewer contacts mean fewer infections. It is therefore sensible and, given the record number of new infections, advisable to restrict life. To do this, restaurants have to close or accept early curfew hours. Overnight stays outside of the city have to be avoided, major events should be canceled, concerts and sporting events anyway – then the number of infections will drop again. Or is it not?

“In principle, yes, but …” would answer the legendary and fictional Radio Yerevan. Because it’s not that easy. Take gastronomy as an example: months ago a study from the trade journal spread Emerging Infectious Diseases Fear and Loathing. It showed how an infected person infected nine other guests in a Chinese restaurant, even though they were sitting at different tables. In the excitement, hardly any attention was paid to the fact that the air conditioning system was a kind of fan, i.e. a virus spreader, with which droplets and aerosols containing Sars-CoV-2 were distributed among the 83 guests at the restaurant in Guangzhou.

If restaurants follow the instructions on distance and hygiene, and if they have even installed new air filters, they do not pose a higher risk. At least the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) assigns restaurants and pubs only a minimal share of the outbreak events, even if this is becoming increasingly difficult to understand. In its management report, the RKI mentions private households, the workplace and leisure activities, as well as retirement homes and clinics.

According to the RKI, larger outbreaks in rural districts are reported “from the private and school environment”, among residents of communal accommodation, as well as by employees in a nursing home and a hospital; minor outbreaks in a hockey team and a butcher shop. An analysis by the US Disease Protection Agency (CDC) came to the conclusion that visits to restaurants, bars or cafés can double or even triple the risk of infection, but the range of findings was wide, which is probably due to how carefully protective regulations are implemented. So it depends.

The situation is similar with the study situation on accommodation, i.e. overnight stays abroad. Anyone who travels in an exemplary manner in terms of hygiene, moves into their room alone or with friends, goes hiking or cycling in small groups, will not increase the risk of infection. If, on the other hand, larger groups meet in the hotel, throw themselves into what is left of city life every evening and put their heads together again at breakfast in the morning, the city tour can become a superspreading event.

Concerts and major events? Many theaters and other stages have recently shown in exemplary fashion that a reduced program with a reduced number of visitors is possible and largely safe. Free rows of seats, spacing, ventilation upwards as with new extractor hoods. So go. However, if the performance of individual artists is discussed in groups after the performance, the best protection concept is of no use. And when 460,000 bikers come to the small town of South Dakota for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August, partying, listening to music and not wearing a mask, one needn’t be surprised when thousands are newly infected afterwards.

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In this respect, it applies to all prescribed and discussed restrictions that the type of implementation is decisive. Science can show what to expect when certain guidelines are met. Extremes and excesses or even just local peculiarities counteract the picture. Just a few days ago, a model study with data from 131 countries was published in the medical journal Lancet showed that various social restrictions significantly reduce the R number after about ten days, i.e. the number of people infected by an infected person. However, the research also shows how much detail matters. Sport also proves this. The professional leagues have been playing again for months, the international competition is on. Regular tests, close medical care and a security concept make this possible for a less endangered, privileged group. The old man’s team, which plays standing soccer in the autumnal aerosol mist and then lets their beer circle, has less protection.


RKI reports over 16,000 new infections for the first time – the virologist sees no chance of a normal Christmas

Of the Frankfurt virologist Martin Stürmer considers the planned measures to contain the corona pandemic to be makes sense to break the second wave – but only if behavior changes afterwards. “It stands and falls with the fact that people are aware that it won’t work without their involvement,” said the laboratory manager and lecturer at the German Press Agency.

With massive Contact restrictions there is a good chance that Break chains of infectionsaid Striker. Only after “returning to normal operation”, people would have to take care to adhere to certain measures such as ventilation or the AHA rules – keeping your distance, observing hygiene, wearing everyday masks. “Otherwise it leads to an endless loop,” said striker. The development of the number of cases showed: “People have become too reckless.”

The Frankfurt virologist does not see the fact that schools and daycare centers remain open as problematic. Although there is still a certain chance of an infection, said Stürmer. “But there are still no signals that schools and daycare centers are infection drivers.”

The chance of a “Normal Christmas” the laboratory manager does not see it. “That would be again counterproductive“Said Striker. The planned measures would, however, make it possible to celebrate a “somewhat more normal Christmas” than under massive contact restrictions – “not like before Corona, but not only with the family and nothing else”.


Overview coronavirus – which rules apply now – politics

The number of infections continues to rise, so people in Germany will face significant restrictions in the future. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the prime ministers of the federal states agreed on this on Wednesday. They should apply from November 2nd. Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) speaks of a “differentiated lockdown”. An overview of the most important measures:

Leisure and gastronomy

Bars, clubs, pubs and restaurants have to close by the end of November. However, restaurants are allowed to have food delivered or picked up. Leisure, cultural and sports facilities such as cinemas, theaters, swimming pools and fitness studios will be closed – as will amusement arcades and brothels. Events for entertainment are prohibited.


Schools and daycare centers are excluded from the closings. This is to secure education and not burden families again. The federal states themselves decide on the necessary protective measures.

Contact restrictions

Citizens are asked to limit private contacts to “an absolutely necessary minimum”. At home and in public spaces, only members of two households, but a maximum of ten people, should meet. Celebrations are “unacceptable,” said Merkel. The controls are to be strengthened in this area.

Travel restrictions

The federal and state governments urge citizens to refrain from travel that is not necessary. This also includes tourist trips. Commercial overnight accommodation should only be available for necessary, explicitly non-tourist trips, for example for essential business trips.

Trade and services

The wholesale and retail trade remains open under certain conditions. There may not be more than one customer per 10 square meters of sales area in the shops. Body care services, such as beauty salons, will also be closed. Hairdressers can, however, remain open. Medically necessary services and treatments, such as physiotherapy, are also permitted.

Call to work from home

Companies are “urgently” asked to make home work possible. The authorities responsible for occupational safety and the accident insurance institutions should advise companies on this, but also monitor them.


In addition to the closings of swimming pools and fitness studios (see also the item Leisure and Gastronomy), there are other restrictions. Amateur sports are only allowed alone or with members of two households. This means that a number of team sports cannot be practiced. Jogging, for example, is still possible. Professional sport can continue, but without spectators in the stadiums or on the sports facilities. This also applies to the Bundesliga.

Church services and demonstrations

Church services will also continue to be possible as long as the hygiene requirements are observed. Chancellor Merkel said that banning them would not have seemed proportionate to her. Bavaria’s Prime Minister Söder referred to the “great good” of religious freedom. The same applies to demonstrations, which also enjoy a high level of legal protection. They can still be used if the distance rules are observed.


Companies and self-employed who are affected by the closings are to be compensated. Smaller companies should receive up to 75 percent of the turnover from November 2019, larger companies up to 70 percent. More details here


Johnson & Johnson clinical trial to resume

Published on :

He had been interrupted a few days ago. The clinical trial of the candidate vaccine from the American laboratory Johnson & Johnson is expected to resume shortly. Paused following a “serious medical event” in a patient, the company indeed announces that it has found no element implicating the vaccine.

Almost two weeks after its interruption, the recruitment campaign for the phase 3 clinical trial of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine candidate is expected to resume in a few days. The American firm announces in fact that it has not found ” no proof That his vaccine was responsible for an adverse event in one of the volunteers.

A total of 60,000 people are expected to take part in this trial. The other test that must be resumed in the United States is the one developed jointly by the AstraZeneca laboratory and the University of Oxford. Interrupted in September for similar reasons, however, patient enrollment started again a few days later around the world, except in the United States, the only country where the authorities had maintained this suspension until a green light was given on Friday.

Two more advanced candidates

These two vaccine candidates are among the most advanced in their development. They are ten in total to have entered phase 3 of clinical trials, the last before the vaccine is marketed. Two other American laboratories, Pfizer and Modern, are also planning to apply for a marketing authorization from the US health authorities towards the end of November.

This progress gives hope that at least one of them will be available by the end of the year.

Our selection on the coronavirus


When the health insurance pays when traveling abroad

Europe Caution travel warning

When the insurance coverage abroad is at risk

A complicated break caused by a skiing accident abroad can be really expensive – if you don’t have travel health insurance abroad. But there is a big problem lurking in the small print for vacationers.

| Reading time: 3 minutes

“Ski fun, yes, but without après-ski”

In Austria, the number of corona infections continues to rise, and travel warnings currently apply to parts of the country. Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz explains how Austria still wants to get through the winter tourism season safely.

Ein a skiing accident on the slopes in Tyrol, a Covid-19 illness while on vacation in Croatia: In such cases it shows how important a travel health insurance is.

But there is a pitfall: there is often no insurance cover for travel warnings – and such official warnings from the Foreign Office are now available for large parts of Europe. What do travelers need to know about their insurance in Corona times? The most important questions and answers.

What are the benefits of travel health insurance?

The insurance protects against costs that can arise from illnesses and accidents while traveling abroad – for example, if a holidaymaker has to go to hospital on site. In the worst case, the statutory health insurance does not pay the treatment costs at all.

Mountain rescuers in the Stubai Glacier ski area take in an injured person. It is always advisable to have travel health insurance when traveling abroad

Source: dpa-tmn / Jan Woitas

And even if there is a social security agreement between Germany and the relevant travel destination, the costs are often only partially reimbursed. Holidaymakers may have to pay hundreds of euros out of their own pocket for expensive treatments.

Also important: the international travel health insurance also pays for the costly return transport to Germany – with a good policy not only the medically necessary, but also the sensible return transport, for example because the chances of recovery at home are better.

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Corona patient in the intensive care unit: There is already a gap in the statutory health insurance funds for the coming year of around 16 billion euros

Ventilation, dialysis, walkers

For those with private health insurance, travel health insurance abroad also makes sense, emphasizes the Association of Private Health Insurance PKV. Because the private insurers usually do not pay for the return transport to Germany either.

Does the insurance pay for Covid-19 disease?

Here it is worth taking a closer look at the insurance conditions. If pandemics cannot be ruled out there, insurance cover also exists in the event of Covid 19 illness.

According to the Federation of Insureds (BdV), the costs for a corona test are also covered if this has been ordered by the authorities or a doctor. And the return transport to Germany is also covered – depending on the contract, only the medically necessary or even the medically sensible one.

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A flight attendant demonstrates the safety measures to protect against infection with Corona

“Pandemic clauses are relatively rare on the market, in contrast to the exclusion from insurance cover in the event of a travel warning,” says Katrin Rieger, Divisional Director Travel Sales Germany at Hanse-Merkur, who has no such clause herself.

Does the insurance also pay for a travel warning?

Usually not – and that is the big sticking point in times of the corona pandemic. The federal government has currently classified more than 130 countries as risk areas in whole or in part and issued a travel warning.

These currently also include winter sports areas such as Tyrol. If the travel warning still exists in winter and you break your leg on the ski slope in Ötztal, for example, you have to pay the treatment costs in full yourself.

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Switzerland: A skier who wears mouth and nose protection goes on the opening day of the ski area "Glacier 3000" in Les Diablerets with a chair lift

The BdV emphasizes that there is generally no insurance coverage if vacationers have started a trip despite a travel warning from the Foreign Office. The protection is excluded in most tariffs on the market.

There are exceptions, however: holidaymakers are also insured in risk areas with Hanse-Merkur’s international travel health insurance. According to its own information, Gothaer also pays for a travel warning.

What applies to a new travel warning in the middle of a vacation?

The international travel health insurance then does not immediately lose its validity; it often offers another 14 days of protection. So vacationers still have time to travel home.

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Can I leave earlier at the expense of the insurance?

No. According to the BdV, general return travel costs are not covered, not even in the case of early departure due to the pandemic or a travel warning. Reimbursement of costs is only possible if it is related to an illness that occurred abroad for the insured person.

What does health insurance for travel abroad cost?

The annual policy for individuals with individual insurance is already available for ten euros. There may be surcharges from a certain age limit. People with pre-existing conditions should check whether or not predictable treatments are excluded from insurance coverage.

Tour operators such as TUI are now also offering so-called Covid-19 insurance included. Consumers should carefully check the scope of services here.

Travel insurers also offer combinations of international travel health, travel cancellation and travel interruption insurance. Here vacationers should check whether they need all the services or whether individual policies are not more useful.

Now the emigration bans are being discussed again

Because of the rapid spread of the corona virus, the first lockdown since April has been imposed in Berchtesgaden, Bavaria. Since every fourth district in Germany is now a risk area, the Chancellery is also examining exit bans for these areas.

Source: WELT / David Schafbuch


Corona: New restrictions in November – politics

On Monday, comprehensive restrictions on public life are to come into force across Germany. Theaters and other cultural sites, trade fairs, cinemas, amusement arcades, brothels, sports facilities and swimming pools are to close by the end of November.

All events “for entertainment” should be prohibited, as well as massages and cosmetic treatments. Bars, clubs and restaurants should no longer be allowed to receive guests. Exceptions are restaurants that offer pick-up and delivery of food and canteens. “We have to act to avoid an acute national health emergency,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) after a meeting with the Prime Ministers on Wednesday: “The curve must flatten again.” In 75 percent of the cases, the corona infections in Germany can no longer be traced.

Private contacts are also to be severely restricted in the coming month. “Staying in public”, it says in the decision, is “only allowed with members of your own household and those of another household”. In total, no more than ten people should be allowed to meet. It was a “difficult day that we will all remember for a long time,” said Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU).

Citizens should refrain from private trips and visits, including those of relatives. Hotels should only open for “necessary” overnight stays and “expressly not for tourist purposes”, as they say. Schools and kindergartens, however, should remain open. Church services should also remain possible. On Wednesday morning, the Robert Koch Institute reported 14,964 new infections within one day. This is the highest value that has ever existed in Germany.

The federal cabinet had already approved these proposals on Wednesday morning. According to the SPD’s will, the Bundestag should also support the new corona restrictions with a resolution. Thuringia’s Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left) also insisted on a protocol note on the participation of Parliament. The Chancellor has announced a government statement for Thursday. After two weeks, the group from the federal and state governments want to meet again and discuss how the measures have worked.

Even before the conference on Wednesday, the federal cabinet had agreed on new rules on loss of earnings. For example, claims for compensation for parents are to be extended until March 2021. These should also exist if individual children have to be looked after at home because they have been quarantined by the health department. However, anyone who makes an “avoidable trip” to foreign corona risk areas should no longer receive compensation for loss of earnings for the period of the prescribed quarantine. “Exceptional circumstances” should be excluded, such as the birth of one’s own children or the death of close relatives.

For companies, the federal government wants to cushion the new restrictions with quick financial aid. All companies and facilities that are affected by the closings in November are to be reimbursed for their sales losses: smaller companies with up to 50 employees up to 75 percent, larger companies up to 70 percent, based on sales in November 2019. The costs are based on eight to ten billion euros are calculated, the funds are to be taken from the existing second aid fund for bridging aid.

The federal government is also planning to set up a bridging allowance III from January 2021. What exactly that should look like, whether there could be entrepreneurial wages for self-employed people, is open. Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) had previously spoken out against it. He has ensured that self-employed people who have no income due to Corona can temporarily receive Hartz IV. A third Civil Protection Act is also intended to enable people without statutory health insurance to receive vaccinations and tests, and for people returning to travel to be recorded digitally.


Corona measures – off for the amateurs – sport

Even before the lockdown for recreational sport by the federal-state summit, which became apparent on Wednesday, amateurs in six of the 21 state associations of the German Football Association were interrupted. This was shown by an overview by the DFB on Wednesday. For the time being, women, men and juniors no longer play in Bremen, Hamburg, Rhineland, Saarland, Schleswig-Holstein and southwest.

The DFB again referred to statements by Tim Meyer, chairman of the medical commission of the DFB and the Uefa, according to which it is very unlikely that players on the football field will be infected with the corona virus. The national team doctor, however, appealed to the amateur clubs to strictly adhere to the hygiene rules in the dressing room and on their club facilities: “The observation that it is very likely that you will not be infected on the field does not mean that this also applies outside the field. It is Known cases of contagion at team meetings and other indoor meetings. “

The game was partially interrupted until Wednesday in the regional football associations of Lower Rhine, Lower Saxony and Westphalia. The Hessian Football Association wants to decide on its further course of action on Thursday. State associations such as Bavaria, Saxony, Thuringia and Middle Rhine planned to continue playing under hygiene rules – subject to new political requirements.


Abou-Chaker process interrupted: Bushido has Corona

Dhe trial of Arafat Abou-Chaker and three of his brothers before the Berlin Regional Court has been suspended for two weeks because of Bushido’s corona infection. The rapper with the real name Anis Ferchichi had testified as the main witness for several hours on Monday. For this he was allowed to remove his mouth and nose protection. As the court announced, police officers who had direct contact with him were quarantined on Wednesday. The judges had moved their work home as a precaution, all viewers had been informed. The trial takes place in one of the largest halls of the Moabit Criminal Court. The number of press observers and spectators is strictly limited and airing takes place regularly. On Monday, for the first time, there were not only distance rules, but also a mask requirement.

Julia Schaaf

Editor in the “Life” section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

Bushido’s lawyer Steffen Tzschoppe, who sat next to the rapper during the testimony on Monday, claims to have gone into quarantine and is waiting there for his test result. Hansgeorg Birkhoff, one of the defenders of Arafat Abou-Chaker, told the FAZ that he would discuss with his client whether he could also be tested. Because Abou-Chaker has suffered from asthma since childhood, he did not wear a mask on Monday. But he was sitting several meters away from Bushido. “Basically, he is particularly worthy of protection with his underlying disease,” said Birkhoff. He was informed by Bushido’s lawyer on Tuesday evening and replied: “No one should wish for such an infection.”

“Don’t take this lightly”

The rapper, who reported the test result and symptoms on Instagram on Tuesday, turned on the same platform on Wednesday from his bathroom at home with a video to his 1.6 million subscribers. “We are all in quarantine here, a huge household, everything paralyzed,” he said. Bushido explicitly appealed to conspiracy theorists to take the virus seriously. “If you should be healthy, rejoice and follow the rules. Don’t take it lightly. “

Bushido should actually have asked questions about his long-term partnership with Abou-Chaker on Wednesday before the separation occurred in 2017. The court has not yet dealt with the actual allegations – including extortion, deprivation of liberty, bodily harm. Bushido describes himself in his testimony as a victim of Abou-Chaker, of whose questionable real estate and financial transactions he claims to have known little. The magazine “Stern”, however, claimed last week that Bushido himself could have committed “insurance fraud on a large scale”.