Incidence for the first time in more than 1400 – politics

The nationwide 7-day incidence reported by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) exceeded the threshold of 1400 for the first time. The RKI gave the value of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants and week on Sunday morning as 1400.8.

For comparison: the day before the value was 1388.0. A week ago, the nationwide incidence was 1156.8 (previous month: 285.9). The health authorities in Germany reported 133,173 new corona infections to the RKI within one day. This is evident from numbers that reflect the status of the RKI dashboard at 5 a.m. A week ago there were 118,970 infections.

Experts assume that there will be 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 limits in many places.

According to the new information, 41 deaths were recorded across Germany within 24 hours. A week ago there were 59 deaths. The RKI has counted 11,022,590 detected infections with Sars-CoV-2 since the beginning of the pandemic. The actual total number is likely to be significantly higher, as many infections go undetected.

The RKI last gave the number of corona-infected patients per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days on Friday at 5.45 (Thursday: 5.00). These may also include people with a positive corona test who have another main illness. The RKI gave the number of recovered people on Sunday as 8,058,100. The number of people who died from or involved a proven infection with Sars-CoV-2 rose to 118,717. (06.02.2022)

Scholz has confidence in Wieler despite criticism from the FDP

Chancellor Olaf Scholz backed the virologists in the traffic light dispute over RKI boss Lothar Wieler. When asked whether Wieler still enjoyed the chancellor’s trust, a government spokeswoman said “yes” on Saturday. The designated FDP General Secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai had previously said that Wieler could “no longer be sure of the FDP’s trust”. The trigger was the annoyance at the reduction in the convalescent status. Green politicians and intensive care physicians also defended Wieler.

The RKI reduced the period “almost incidentally with the stroke of a pen and without any announcement”, criticized the FDP politician in the “Spiegel”. This is not an isolated case, but a “recent misconduct”. The surprising shortening of the recovered status from six to three months meant that people without a full vaccination status were suddenly unable to go to restaurants, bars or gyms. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) had spoken of communication problems with the RKI.

The RKI President received demonstrative support from the green coalition partner. “Lothar Wieler has done an incredible amount during the pandemic. His expertise, professionalism, and steadfastness in the face of attacks by enemies of science deserve respect,” wrote Bundestag Vice President Katrin Göring-Eckardt on Twitter. Green health expert Janosch Dahmen tweeted: “His expertise is invaluable. Without him we would be in a much worse position today,” he wrote on Twitter. Christian Karagiannidis, President of the German Society for Internal Intensive Care Medicine and Emergency Medicine, made a similar statement, emphasizing that Wieler’s expertise was “invaluable”.

The background to the dispute with the FDP is a deeper conflict in the coalition over the further Corona course. There is a dispute between the SPD, FDP and Greens as to when there should be opening steps, which the Liberals in particular are pushing for. FDP leader Christian Lindner had called for easing this week, such as the abolition of the 2G rule in retail. “The time for opening debates is now,” tweeted Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport, Michael Theurer (FDP), on Saturday. Government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit had said in view of the sharp increase in the number of new corona infections that it was too early to present a timetable for openings. Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) made a similar statement on Friday. During the pandemic, Wieler advocates a tougher course in the fight against the pandemic.

According to model calculations, the RKI expects the omicron wave to peak in mid-February. Then the number of daily new corona infections could be at least 400,000. The number of corona patients in hospitals is also expected to increase. However, the number of very severe illnesses in omicron-infected people has not increased so far.

Vaccination compulsory in Austria

In Austria, a corona vaccination has been compulsory for almost all residents over the age of 18 since Saturday – the strictest regulation within the European Union. After a transitional period until mid-March, those who refuse to vaccinate face severe fines. Other European countries have so far only decided to make vaccination compulsory for certain professional groups.

In the neighboring country, the law passed by parliament provides for exceptions for pregnant women and for people who cannot be vaccinated for health reasons, as well as for those who have recovered. All unvaccinated people should now receive a letter asking them to be immunized against the virus. Anyone who is then unable to produce a certificate on a vaccination date set by the government should receive a penal order.

Austria has almost nine million inhabitants. Almost 70 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. In Germany, the figure is a good 74 percent. The new compulsory vaccination should be checked with random samples, for example as part of traffic controls – but not immediately, but only from mid-March onwards. In the event of violations, there are penalties in a shortened procedure of up to 600 euros, in the end up to 3600 euros. (05.02.2022)

Kretschmann criticizes Scholz

Baden-Württemberg’s Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann criticizes the federal government and Chancellor Olaf Scholz. “In a pandemic, the head of government must lead strongly, there is no other way,” said the Green politician on Deutschlandfunk. In a crisis, the Chancellor’s authority to set guidelines is required, compromises should not simply be made, even if it is complicated with three partners. The solution of wanting to introduce compulsory vaccination via group applications in the Bundestag, for example, is a lengthy process “with the risk that it will be talked about in the end and no clear line will come out of it”.

Another problem is overly complex corona regulations. The dilemma, however, is that simpler specifications are difficult to achieve. Either everything becomes much stricter, then the courts collect it. Or everything will become looser, then the pandemic will get out of hand. Therefore, he would have to find precise rules for each area, argued Kretschmann.

On Tuesday, the head of government spoke out against even talking about an end to the corona restrictions before Easter. After much criticism, he held out the prospect of easing until Easter if the Corona situation improved. “Of course there will be relaxation and I will do it myself if the infection situation allows it – more precisely, if the burden on the health system allows it,” said Kretschmann. He, too, would be “glad” if there were orderly procedures again without the pressure from the pandemic. He has no pleasure in governing. (05.02.2022)

Erdoğan tested positive for Corona

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his wife Emine have tested positive for the corona virus. The 67-year-old reported on Twitter on Saturday about “mild symptoms” of an illness that was found in both. The Covid 19 tests were then positive. According to Erdoğan, it is the omicron variant of the virus.

The president and his wife are now staying at home – according to an adviser, initially for a week. Then there will be new tests. During this time, Erdogan will take part in events via video link if necessary, it said.

Dreyer: MPK needs to talk about easing

According to Malu Dreyer, the head of government in Rhineland-Palatinate, the next prime ministers’ conference on February 16th should talk about easing the corona measures. At the latest then it must be about “clever ideas for facilitation”, said Dreyer Rhenish Post. But first we have to wait for the “peak of the omicron wave” expected for mid-February. Only then can one assess “whether the hospitals can do this in their normal and intensive care units and how much the loss of staff due to infection and quarantine in the critical infrastructure and in the companies will affect us,” said the SPD politician.

The SPD parliamentary group can also imagine the corona restrictions ending. “In the next few weeks we will take our time to see whether it is even necessary to extend the corona protection measures beyond March 19,” said parliamentary director Johannes Fechner World.

Opinion is divided in the medical profession: The head of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV), Andreas Gassen, is in favor of rapid easing: “What we need now is a freedom plan – a plan how we can relax step by step and based on parameters”, he said the Rheinische Post.

The President of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, Gernot Marx, warns in the newspapers of the Funke media group against opening steps too early. In Germany, the omicron wave was not as steep as in other countries, precisely because of the protective measures. This success should not be jeopardized. “Specific easing can only be decided when the peak of the omicron wave is behind us,” he demanded. (05.02.2022)

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