The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reports a new high of 81,417 new corona infections, after a negative record was recorded on Wednesday. The nationwide seven-day incidence increases from 407.5 to 427.7. The value indicates how many people per 100,000 population have contracted the coronavirus in the past seven days. The incidence value is currently highest in Bremen with 1438.5.
According to the RKI, another 316 people died in connection with the virus. This brings the number of reported deaths to 115,051. (01/13/2022)
Twelve federal states are checking the license for the Luca app
In twelve federal states it is unclear whether the Luca app will continue to be used contractually to track contacts in the corona pandemic. In Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and Saxony-Anhalt, this is checked, as a survey by the German press agency showed. Schleswig-Holstein has decided not to extend the license beyond March. North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony and Thuringia do not have a contract with the operator.
While privacy advocates see risks, the German District Association advertises the app: “We think that Luca is still the most sensible way of tracking contacts because there is a direct channel between the health department, the restaurant operator and the user,” said a spokeswoman. “If necessary, the health authorities can quickly access the data of those affected and their contact persons and contact them.” (01/13/2022)
France’s Senate tightened restrictions on unvaccinated people
The French Senate has approved the planned tightening of the corona rules for unvaccinated people with restrictions. In order to contain the fifth wave, unvaccinated people will soon no longer have access to facilities such as gastronomy and culture and will no longer be able to use long-distance trains and flights. So far, this was still possible with a current negative test.
However, the Senate determined that the tightening will only apply as long as there are more than 10,000 corona patients in French clinics. There are currently around 24,000 patients. Those who have recovered should also receive the digital Corona pass in the future, which allows unrestricted access to facilities and events, as determined by the Senate. The obligation to provide proof of vaccination as a prerequisite for access should also only apply from the age of 18.
For overriding reasons, long-distance travel should still be possible with a test without vaccination. Even those who have already made an appointment for a vaccination should temporarily continue to have access everywhere with a test. The Senate wiped harsher penalties from the table as well as an obligation for restaurateurs to verify the identity of guests. This is the sole power of the police.
The number of cases in France has skyrocketed in the past few weeks. The omicron variant of the coronavirus is now predominant in the country. On Wednesday, almost 362,000 registered new corona infections were recorded within one day. The latest incidence nationwide was 2811. It indicates how many infections were recorded per 100,000 people within a week. (01/13/2022)
Former hotspots in the east with low case numbers
The former corona hotspots in eastern Germany are currently reporting relatively low values, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute. While the incidence for the whole of Germany is 407.5, Saxony with 239.5 has the lowest value of all 16 states, ahead of Saxony-Anhalt with 254.4 and Thuringia with 277.6. At the top is Bremen with 1,296.8 and Berlin with 856.4.
The social minister there, Petra Köpping (SPD), explains the sharp decline in incidence in Saxony partly with the regionally tightened corona rules: “They were tough measures, they were tough cuts,” says Köpping. The Leipzig epidemiologist Markus Scholz sees it similarly: “Through the measures (in adults) we have achieved a contact reduction of 50 percent.” For this reason, the wave of infections with the delta variant flattened out earlier. The highly contagious Omikron variant is initially less common in Saxony than in other regions. If Omikron prevails, however, Scholz believes that the situation will change quickly. “We expect a rise again by the end of January at the latest. There will be record numbers again”. The Ministry of Health in Thuringia shares this view. “After all the forecasts and calculations, we assume that the situation in Thuringia will worsen again,” said a spokeswoman. (01/12/2022)
Lauterbach waives its own suggestion for mandatory vaccinations
Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach does not propose a general vaccination requirement. The news portal The Pioneer said the SPD politician: “I have decided not to present my own proposal, but to be neutral.” Presenting your own draft to Parliament would definitely be “not such a smart idea”. As health minister he must have “a certain neutrality”.
In the matter he stands “shoulder to shoulder” with Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz, assured Lauterbach. “We are clear advocates of mandatory vaccination.” The minister does not see any particular time pressure. For the Omikron variant, the compulsory vaccination no longer plays a decisive role. It has to work in perspective, “so that the wave can be averted in autumn”. (12.1.2022)
Expert warns against using antigen tests for free testing
In the debate about the reliability of antigen tests, one expert warns of false safety through negative test results. “Freestyle testing only with an antigen test is not possible,” said the chairman of the professional association of German laboratory doctors, Andreas Bobrowski, of the German press agency. He referred to plans by the federal government to enable early free testing from quarantine not only with PCR tests, but also with “high quality” antigen tests. Because antigen tests, which include self-tests and rapid tests, often do not work, particularly when the viral load is low, this is a problematic signal, says Bobrowski.
The viral load tends to drop quite quickly, especially in Omikron, especially in vaccinated people. Bobrowski pointed out that the difference in the reliability of all antigen tests is “very significant” compared to the PCR test, especially in the case of asymptomatic corona infections. While the PCR tests almost always provided correct results in the detection of corona infections even with a low viral load, the antigen test was correctly positive in asymptomatic courses with a low viral load in only about half of the infected, said the expert.
With regard to PCR tests, the Ministry of Health recently stated that the possible weekly capacity of 2.4 million tests would not yet be exhausted with the current up to 1.5 million PCR tests. The chairman of the Association of Accredited Laboratories in Medicine (ALM), Michael Müller, said, according to the announcement: “The burden in the laboratories is considerable, but I see no reason for too much concern.” (01/12/2022)
Patient advocate calls for Scholz to move away from compulsory vaccinations
The patient advocate Eugen Brysch calls on Chancellor Olaf Scholz to give up the plan of a general corona vaccination. “The discussion about the compulsory vaccination is currently overshadowing everything. But whether it will really come is becoming more and more unlikely,” said the board of the German Foundation for Patient Protection, the editorial network Germany. “Even if the Chancellor has made vaccination a top priority, Olaf Scholz should now have the size to turn back. Because more urgent issues have been postponed for far too long.”
The questions about compulsory vaccination are very complex, says Brysch. Anyone who wants to get started now must also explain how the exit from duty will be possible. “And that against the background that neither virus variants can be stopped in the future nor that vaccination leads to sterile immunity,” argues the patient advocate. It is clear, however, that the vaccination is the best protection for yourself.
Therefore, Brysch is also demanding an offer of a fourth dose of vaccine against the coronavirus for everyone by the summer. “Everyone should have the opportunity to be able to take advantage of a fourth vaccination offer with the currently available active ingredients by the summer,” said Brysch to the newspapers of the Funke media group.
The intensive care doctor Christian Karagiannidis, who is also a member of the German government’s Corona Expert Council, advises against offering a fourth vaccination now. “With a systematic fourth vaccination, we should wait until an adapted vaccine is available,” he told the newspapers of the Funke media group. (01/12/2022)
Fauci: Omikron will hit almost everyone
According to leading US expert Anthony Fauci, the extremely contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus will sooner or later affect almost everyone. “With the extraordinary and unprecedented effectiveness of the transfer, Omikron will ultimately find almost everyone,” said the immunologist and presidential adviser. Vaccinated people would also get infected, but most of them would not have it that hard, so they would not have to go to hospital or they would not die, Fauci said in an interview with the think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies , CSIS).
The worst will be those who are still not vaccinated, said Fauci. In the United States, only 208 million people, or just under 63 percent of the population, are fully vaccinated. Only 76 million people have received a booster vaccination so far.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had recently warned of rising case numbers in Europe. In the next two months, more than half of the people on the continent could become infected with Omikron. Omikron represents a tidal wave that rolls from west to east across the WHO region of Europe, which also includes non-European countries, and adds to the rise in delta numbers that the countries would have experienced by the end of 2021, said WHO regional director Hans Kluge at an online press conference in Copenhagen. (01/12/2022)