Shortly before the meeting of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) with the state heads of government on the corona crisis on Tuesday, the municipalities are calling for new nationwide restrictions on public life. In view of the increasing corona numbers, the district day advocated a uniform upper limit of 50 people for private parties at the weekend. And the Association of Towns and Municipalities requires an expansion of the mask requirement to busy places and, for example, Christmas markets if there are high numbers of infections.
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The President of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Lothar Wieler, has confirmed the impression that many of the new corona infections in Germany can be traced back to private meetings. “At the moment, people are mainly infected in their private sphere, ie at parties, wedding celebrations, funerals, and also in church services,” he said World on Sunday. The private sector plays “the major role”. In contrast, the risk of infection in companies has not been so high, said Wieler. So far, there have also been very few infections in shops, said the RKI boss. There are now some outbreaks in schools. This has to be analyzed well. On Tuesday, Merkel wants to discuss the consequences of the current high number of infections with the Prime Minister.
Lauterbach demands free flu vaccination
The SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach is calling for free flu vaccinations for all insured nationwide due to the corona pandemic this autumn and winter. The member of the Bundestag spoke in the World on Sunday of a “very sensible, low-cost measure”. Because of the pandemic, doctors particularly recommend vaccination against flu this year. However, many providers only cover the costs for patients who belong to a risk group.
Health experts in the Bundestag do not fear that the vaccine could become scarce. “This year, too, the vaccine will be enough – we can afford to make it available to all insured persons free of charge,” said Lauterbach. The spokeswoman for health policy for the Greens, Kordula Schulz-Asche, expressed a similar opinion: “We have to go into the cold season with a preventive strategy in order to prevent rising flu and Covid-19 infections.”
1411 new corona infections registered in Germany on Sunday
As expected, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported a comparatively low number of new corona infections on Sunday. The health authorities had transmitted 1411 cases within one day, as the RKI announced in the morning. Experience shows that the number of cases reported is usually lower on Sundays and Mondays, also because not all health authorities report data to the RKI at the weekend. On Saturday, a significantly higher value was achieved with 2507 new corona infections.
2507 new corona infections – highest value since the end of April
The number of new infections with the corona virus in Germany reached the highest level since April on Saturday. Within one day, the health authorities in Germany reported 2507 new corona infections, as announced by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). On Friday, the number of newly reported corona cases was 2153.
According to RKI information on Saturday morning, at least 282 730 people in Germany have been proven to have been infected with the Sars-CoV-2 virus since the beginning of the Corona crisis (data as of September 26, 00:00 a.m.). According to the RKI, the number of deaths in connection with a corona infection is 9452. That is nine more than the day before. About 249 700 people survived the infection according to RKI estimates.
The peak of new infections reported daily was at more than 6000 at the end of March / beginning of April. The number then tended to fall and rose again in July. In August, the number of cases was just over 2000 (2034). The number of new infections detected also depends on how many people are tested.
According to RKI estimates in Germany, according to the management report on Friday, the number of reproductions, or R value for short, was 0.91 (previous day: 0.78). This means that an infected person infects slightly less than another person on average. The R-value depicts the infection rate approximately one and a half weeks beforehand. In addition, the RKI gives a seven-day R-value, which is less subject to daily fluctuations. It shows the infection process from 8 to 16 days ago and was last at 1.01 (previous day: 0.97). Accordingly, an infected person infects about one other person on average.
German doctors are increasingly prescribing controversial drugs
The malaria active ingredient hydroxychloroquine, for which US President Donald Trump and Brazil’s head of state Jair Bolsonaro campaigned in the fight against Covid-19 diseases, has a report by Spiegel according to at least temporarily found many followers in Germany. The magazine refers to a preliminary evaluation by the Scientific Institute of the AOK, which includes prescriptions by general practitioners at the expense of statutory health insurance.
As a result, around 704,000 daily doses of hydroxychloroquine had been given in February, and almost 1.06 million in March. This means that the drug was prescribed to almost 10,000 more patients than in the previous month. In April and May these numbers fell again, but remained at a higher level than in the previous year. In June the values were again below the average of the previous year.
Hydroxychloroquine is approved for the therapy of various diseases of the rheumatoid type and for the prophylaxis and treatment of malaria. Its effectiveness against Covid-19 was discussed controversially in spring 2020. In the USA there was an emergency approval for the treatment of Covid-19 at the end of March, in Europe it was never approved for the indication against Covid-19.
Spahn against nationwide mask requirement
Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn has spoken out against a nationwide mask requirement in public places. “From my point of view it makes sense that it actually happens locally, regionally, after the infection,” said the CDU politician on Thursday evening in the ARD “Tagesthemen”. It always depends on what the source of increased numbers of infections is.
“We knew that with the easing that had taken place over the past few weeks and months, the number of infections could rise again,” said Spahn. “The important thing is that we now mainly see where they happen. They don’t happen in retail, not especially in daycare centers and schools, but mainly when partying.” It is therefore correct that the cities and regions where the number of infections has risen particularly sharply took local measures.
Laschet: “Don’t just look at the pure infection numbers”
The North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Armin Laschet has spoken out in favor of a new type of risk assessment in the corona pandemic. “Learning to live with Corona primarily means keeping a close eye on all developments. We must not only look at the pure infection numbers,” said the CDU politician Handelsblatt (Friday).
Laschet called for the capacity of the hospitals and the number of intensive care and ventilated Covid-19 patients to be included more in the assessment of the situation. The same applies to the proportion of traceable infections, the number of tests and the proportion of positive test results. “We need standardized corona monitoring for the whole of Germany, which maps the pandemic development to the specific community,” said Laschet.
Doctors’ representatives consider the Corona warning app to be ineffective
In the fight against the corona pandemic in Germany, medical representatives rate the effectiveness of the warning app as extremely low. “Since the data in the app is not automatically forwarded to the health authorities, this instrument in its current form does not provide us with any great support in quickly fighting and containing corona outbreaks,” said the chairwoman of the Federal Association of Doctors in the Public Health Service , Ute Teichert, the newspapers of the Funke media group. The app plays “almost no role in the everyday work of the German health authorities”.
It is “extremely seldom that an app user contacts us because of a corresponding warning,” said Teichert. Politicians have decided to “put data protection above pandemic protection”. You have to accept this.
Chancellery chief Helge Braun (CDU) described the app as a “great success story” on Wednesday 100 days after it was launched. With around 18 million downloads, it was downloaded more often than all other Corona apps in Europe. According to Health Minister Jens Spahn, almost 5000 users have warned their own contacts with it.
From Teichert’s point of view, it would be helpful if the app had a function with which users could at least voluntarily allow warnings to be passed on directly to the health department. This would mean that the responsible authorities “would be informed much faster about cases of infection and could quickly take measures to contain a corona outbreak. This is a crucial point,” said Teichert. At the moment, however, it is up to the app users whether they report to the health authorities after a registered contact with an infected person. “Whether they actually do it cannot be checked,” said Teichert.
Federal government declares regions in eleven EU countries to be risk areas
The federal government has declared regions in eleven countries of the European Union to be corona risk areas due to the increasing number of infections. This also includes areas in the neighboring countries of Denmark, the Czech Republic, France, Austria and the Netherlands. That comes from the list of the Robert Koch Institute updated on Wednesday evening. In total, 14 of the 27 EU member states are now fully or partially designated as corona risk areas.
Regions in Denmark, Portugal, Ireland and Slovenia were added on Wednesday. In addition, other regions in France, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Croatia, Romania, Austria and Hungary were identified as risk areas. The Foreign Office also issued a travel warning for all of these areas on Wednesday evening.
The Reuters news agency reports that the Federal Foreign Office has issued travel warnings for the Portuguese capital Lisbon and the French regions of Center-Val de Loire, Normandy and Brittany. In addition, warnings are given against unnecessary tourist trips to the Irish capital Dublin and the Czech Republic, with the exception of the Aussiger region (Ústí nad Labem) and the Moravian-Silesian region.
Travelers returning from risk areas must be tested for corona 48 hours before or after entering the country. The travel warning is not a ban, but is intended to have a significant deterrent effect. However, it also has a positive side for consumers: it enables travelers to cancel bookings free of charge.