The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has again announced maximum values in the corona pandemic. The health authorities reported 248,838 new infections within 24 hours. This means that almost 10.7 million infections have been registered in Germany since the beginning of the pandemic. The nationwide seven-day incidence rises to 1349.5. The previous day it was 1283.2.
However, these numbers are likely to be far too low: Experts assume a high and increasing number of cases that are not recorded in the RKI data, partly because testing capacities and health authorities are at their limit in many places. In addition, some cities and districts have been reporting problems with the transmission of the number of corona cases for days.
170 more people died within a day related to the virus. This increases the number of reported deaths to 118,504. (04.02.2022)
Intensive care physicians warn against loosening too quickly
Intensive care physicians warn that premature easing could lead to a “roller coaster ride” in the number of infections. “Relaxing the corona measures, as some federal states have now announced, is too early,” says Gernot Marx, President of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (DIVI). Funk media group. The current measures have meant that the omicron wave in Germany is developing more slowly and not as steeply as in other countries. This success should not be jeopardized. (04.02.2022)
RKI estimates the number of corona-related doctor visits at 320,000 in one week
The Robert Koch Institute estimates the number of doctor visits in Germany because of Corona in the past week at around 320,000. The values of the fourth wave are already significantly exceeded in almost all age groups, writes the RKI in its weekly report. The number of visits to the doctor has increased since the turn of the year and has stagnated compared to the previous week, although late registrations are still possible.
According to RKI calculations, 0.9 to 1.8 percent of the population aged 15 and over had contracted Covid-19 with symptoms of an acute respiratory disease in the previous week. In the case of children up to 15 years of age, the institute speaks of a proportion of those affected of around 1.6 to 3.2 percent. The RKI has been presenting such calculations for around two weeks – also because laboratories and health authorities are at the limit when recording infected people and it is assumed that the reporting data is becoming increasingly incomplete.
According to the RKI, estimated values for hospital admissions of patients infected with Sars-CoV-2 “remained at a high level” and showed a continued slight upward trend (so-called adjusted hospitalization incidence). In intensive care units, there is currently no increase due to the omicron wave.
“The 7-day incidence is still highest in the group of children and adolescents aged 5 to 19 years”, but it has also risen significantly again in the older age groups, the RKI states. “The omicron wave is slowly reaching the elderly population,” the authority commented on Twitter. An increase among older people has also been feared for some time in view of a possible heavier burden on the healthcare system. (04.02.2022)
Omicron subtype BA.2 in Germany grows at a low level
At a low level, the omicron subvariant BA.2, which is apparently even more transferrable, continues to increase in Germany. For the week ending January 23, the Robert Koch Institute reports a share of 5.1 percent in its weekly report – rounded, double the figure for the previous week. The data result from a sample of cases in which complete genetic analyzes were carried out. Accordingly, the omicron subtype BA.1 has dominated in Germany so far.
BA.2 had spread widely in Denmark, among other places. German experts also expect this in Germany and fear that this could prolong the omicron wave. The Charité virologist Christian Drosten said in his podcast that the current infection control measures are likely to slow down the spread compared to other countries.
Drosten explained the two Omicron subtypes with a car metaphor and said about BA.2: “The engine has a few more horsepower.” He referred to data on contagion in households in Denmark. The RKI writes about this study in the weekly report that it indicates “that the BA.2 subline is more easily transmissible than BA.1 and has immune-vasive properties that could explain this higher transmissibility”. (03.02.2022)
WHO sees Europe facing a possible corona “endgame”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Europe faces a unique opportunity to get the spread of the coronavirus under control and to herald an “endgame” in the pandemic. Three concurring factors give Europe hope in the fight against the virus, explained the WHO Regional Director for Europe, Hans Kluge: the large number of vaccinations administered and natural immunizations by omicron, the approaching end of winter and the lower disease severity of the omicron variant.
“We should take this period of higher protection as a ‘ceasefire’ that could bring us lasting peace.” With regard to the possible relaxation, Kluge warned: “We should not waste this opportunity.” Any respite must be used immediately to empower health workers to return to other critical health functions.
In order to prepare for future waves, the population must continue to be vaccinated during the hoped-for breathing space and newly emerging variants must be closely observed, Kluge continued. He appealed for the available vaccines to be distributed to all countries: “Let 2022 be the year of vaccine justice.”
The wave of the highly contagious omicron variant in Europe is currently still rolling rapidly from west to east. In one week alone there were twelve million new corona cases that were largely attributable to Omikron, said Kluge. Almost a third of all Covid 19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic have been registered this year alone.
Stiko recommends second booster vaccination for risk groups
The Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) is in favor of a second booster vaccination for groups that are particularly at risk of health and are exposed. She also recommends the use of the Novavax corona vaccine for people aged 18 and over.
For over 70-year-olds, people with immunodeficiency and residents of nursing homes, according to the Stiko, the renewed immunization should take place no earlier than three months after the first booster vaccination. Staff in medical and nursing facilities should receive the second booster after six months at the earliest. A draft resolution went to expert groups and federal states for approval, changes are still possible.
To justify this, the Vaccination Commission stated that current data showed a dwindling protection against infection after the first booster vaccination against the omicron variant within a few months. However, no further booster is recommended for people who have had a corona infection after the first booster vaccination. Stiko assumes that the second booster will be tolerated similarly to the first. However, the panel also stated “that the data on the effectiveness and safety of a second booster vaccination is still limited”.
The Novavax protein vaccine should be used for primary immunization with two doses at least three weeks apart, the expert panel said. However, the vaccine is currently not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women. A corresponding draft resolution went to expert groups and federal states for approval, so changes are still possible.
“In the approval studies, the vaccine showed an efficacy comparable to that of the mRNA vaccines,” Stiko explained. However, no statements can yet be made on the clinical effectiveness against the omicron variant. The Novavax vaccine, which should be available in Germany from February 21, could lead to vaccination reactions that are similar to those of the other approved vaccines against the corona virus. “The pivotal studies revealed no safety concerns regarding serious adverse events after vaccination,” the Stiko wrote. However, the data on Nuvaxovid is still limited. (03.02.2022)
Lindner brings tax breaks on the way
Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) has launched several tax breaks to relieve citizens and companies in the Corona crisis. A draft law, from which several news agencies quote, provides, among other things, to extend the home office flat rate for employees and extended possibilities for loss offsetting for companies.
In addition, the deadline for submitting the tax return for 2020 is to be extended again in cases in which it has not yet expired. Corona premiums granted by employers in certain professions should be tax-free up to a value of 3,000 euros. Tax subsidies for short-time work benefits are likely to be extended by three months until the end of March 2022. In addition, earlier profits should be better offset against current losses. This is to be extended until the end of 2023.
Calculated over a period of twelve months, the state will lose 2.6 billion euros as a result of the planned measures. According to Reuters, for the period 2022 to 2026, the experts at the Ministry of Finance calculate that the federal, state and local governments will lose almost eleven billion euros in tax revenue. The largest chunks will be in the years 2023 and 2024. In 2026, the measures are expected to have a positive impact on revenue for the first time.
Most of the measures are part of the coalition agreement between the SPD, Greens and FDP. The approval of the cabinet, Bundestag and Bundesrat is still pending. The economy has been supported with such tax relief since the outbreak of the pandemic. (03.02.2022)
Sweden lifts restrictions next week despite record levels
Despite record numbers of new infections, Sweden will lift restrictions on public life next week. “It’s time to reopen Sweden,” says Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.
At the end of January, Sweden had extended the restrictions for bars and restaurants, among other things, by two weeks until February 9th. When this period expires, the measures should be lifted. Infection numbers stayed high for quite a while, says Andersson. “But the worst of the contagion is now behind us, as far as we can tell.” (03.02.2022)
Scholz considers calls for easing to be too early
Chancellor Olaf Scholz sees the conditions for easing the Corona crisis not yet met. “The situation is not like that,” said the SPD politician on ZDF’s “Heute Journal”. When asked whether the government in Denmark had more courage with the recent waiver of practically all restrictions, Scholz said: “I think we’re doing what’s right for the citizens of this country.” The measures are supported by a “very large consensus”.
Only when the peak of the omicron wave has passed will the federal government discuss easing steps. “Unfortunately, we haven’t got there yet,” said the Chancellor.
The next crisis talks between the state premiers and Scholz are planned for February 16. Nationwide easing could be agreed there. At their last consultation on January 24, the federal and state governments agreed to develop “opening perspectives” as soon as the health system could be overburdened. (02.02.2022)