11,000 people tested positive for Corona within one day. But we can still stop the virus, says RKI boss Lothar Wieler.
BERLIN taz | The head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Lothar Wieler, gives hope that Germany can stop the second wave of corona infections in time. “At the moment we still have the chance to slow down the spread of the virus. We are not powerless, we can make a difference, ”he said on Thursday, October 22nd, at an online press conference.
However, he made his statement with clear reservations: Even more people would have to adhere to the “AHA plus L” rules. So keep your distance, follow hygiene rules such as hand washing, wear a mask and ventilate a lot. “Overall, the situation has become very serious,” said Wieler. It is to be expected that the virus will continue to spread uncontrollably. Here is an overview of the location:
11,287 people in Germany tested positive for the coronavrus in one day, 30 died within 24 hours. This is a sad high point with the detected infections, which are significantly higher than in April. However, the numbers from now on are not comparable to those from then: Today around 1.2 million people are tested for the virus every day, around three times as many as in April. The RKI figures clearly show that from mid-August to the end of September, mainly younger people up to 34 years of age were infected. But since then, more and more elderly people have become infected. According to the RKI, an average of around 1 percent of those infected die from the virus, younger people much less often than older people.
On Tuesday, the RKI published an updated overview of where, according to a survey by the health authorities, people have been infected with the virus since the outbreak of the pandemic. “The virus spreads wherever people like to get together closely,” said Wieler. Sounds trivial, but it has implications: Although in 75 percent of the cases the health authorities were no longer able to trace the location of the infection, there is a clear statement: “The majority of people get infected in their private sphere, that’s what I tell you want to show this graphic, ”said Wieler. Hotel stays, local public transport or schools have so far played a subordinate role – even if more people could become infected in schools with increasing numbers of cases.
People often got infected at private celebrations or social events and would carry the virus into their families or shared apartments. “My request: take symptoms seriously and take the warnings of the Corona app seriously,” said Wieler. So it seems to be like this: In the supermarket, in the office or in the subway, most people are cautious as soon as the after-work drink waves with friends, but sometimes the stupid mask is over. Then there is an infection. That is why Wieler appeals: comply with the AHA-plus-L rules, also in private life.
The RKI explicitly sees no reason to change strategy. It has been proven that health authorities tried to contain infections and infected people are isolated. At the same time, vulnerable groups must continue to be protected, therapies against Covid-19 improved and more capacities built up for treatments, according to Wieler.
He contradicted the virologist Hendrick Streeck from the University of Bonn, who warned on Wednesday on n-TV that it was no longer possible for the health authorities to trace contacts from infected people as before.
Against this background, it is all the more important to protect risk groups, argued Streeck. Wieler, on the other hand, rejects such a new prioritization of measures: Every effort that the health authorities undertake to uncover chains of infection would reduce the spread of the virus. More and more circles are now reporting overloaded health authorities. Which means nothing else than: There are more and more people with a corona infection who do not know anything about it, do not receive a warning from the health authorities and therefore infect others.
Outlook: There is still enough capacity in the health system in Germany. Currently 1,030 of a total of 21,473 intensive care patients across Germany suffer from a severe course of Covid-19. 8,184 intensive care beds are still available. However, the number of corona patients rose steeply. To say now that there is still capacity, there is still buffers, is therefore cynical, warned Wieler. It is about protecting as many people as possible. And if the number of infections continues to rise, the capacities in the health system will soon be exhausted.