Andreas Gassen, head of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV), is convinced that there must be significant changes in the testing process in connection with the corona pandemic and that focus must be on symptomatic cases. “The focus will be on getting PCR tests to people who may be released from quarantine,” Gassen told Phoenix TV.
The number of infections is already “significantly higher” than the number reported by the RKI, as many infections are no longer noticed. “We have been subjected for months to a certain illusion of control,” said the CEO of KBV. You only get a full picture of the pandemic in a few areas, like hospital admissions and people who need to be treated in intensive care units. (14.01.2022)
First vaccinations with Novavax in February
In Germany, the first people are to be immunized against the corona virus with a so-called death vaccine in five weeks. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) has announced that the company Novavax will deliver the first 1.75 million doses to Germany on February 21. The Novavax vaccine has only been approved in the EU for three weeks. Unlike the other four approved coronavirus vaccines, it is not a vector or mRNA vaccine, but an inactivated vaccine . The Novavax vaccine will be “also recommended” and made available in particular to those “who prefer this type of vaccination”, said Lauterbach. 3.25 million additional doses have been purchased. When these would be delivered is not yet clear – but it hopes for the last week of February. (14.01.2022)
Berlin transport companies reduce bus services because of Omikron
The Omikron wave has an impact on local transport in the German capital. Because more and more employees are reporting sick, the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) has to impose restrictions in order to continue to maintain a stable schedule. The restrictions initially only affect bus traffic, as the company announced. An adapted schedule will be applied from January 19. Fewer buses are running, among others, on the 100 bus route, which is popular with tourists, and there will only be a 20-minute interval in the future. According to the OAG, there may be new restrictions from January 24. (14.01.2022)
Austria once again becomes a high-risk area
The federal government has again classified neighboring Austria as a high-risk area due to the high number of corona infections from Sunday. Exceptions to this are the municipalities of Mittelberg and Jungholz as well as the Rißtal in the Karwendel with the village of Hinterrß. This was announced by the Robert Koch Institute.
From Sunday, Germany’s nine neighboring countries are on the risk list. Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands have long been designated high-risk areas. In addition to Austria, there are more than 30 other countries on the list, many of them in Africa and the Caribbean. In total, almost 140 of the 200 or so countries around the world will be on the risk list.
Anyone who enters from a high-risk area and is not fully vaccinated or cured must quarantine for ten days and can only be discharged with a negative test five days after arrival at the earliest. The classification as a high-risk area is accompanied by a travel warning from the Federal Foreign Office for unnecessary tourist travel. This makes it easier for tourists to cancel trips that have already been booked free of charge, but does not mean a travel ban.
Countries and regions with a particularly high risk of infection are classified as high-risk areas. But it is not only the infection figures that are decisive. Other criteria are the speed at which the virus is spreading, the burden on the healthcare system or the lack of data on the corona situation. (14.01.2022)
Lauterbach: “We are going into difficult waters”
Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) warns of the spread of the omicron variant in the coming days and weeks. “We are entering difficult waters,” he said before the federal press conference. Hospitals and testing laboratories are at risk of reaching their capacity limits. It has therefore also ensured that the laboratories give priority to the evaluation of the PCR tests of the employees of the clinics, nursing homes and nursing homes.
Lauterbach again promoted strict corona rules. What the federal and state governments have decided so far is working. This is demonstrated by the fact that the doubling time – i.e. the time during which the number of corona cases doubles – is relatively high in an international comparison at just under seven days. This suggests that it will not spread as quickly. The goal is “to stretch and reduce the inevitable, the rising number of infections, so that we can get through the fourth wave with as few casualties as possible,” Lauterbach said. And during this time, you must continue to provide many people with a booster vaccination. A “contagion” could not be accepted because it was not known how many people would then die.
At the same time, Lauterbach believes that the current anti-corona measures are still sufficient. However, he is concerned that the more agreed 2-G regulation is not being implemented everywhere in the catering sector – Bavaria, for example, has not implemented it – and that the controls are not sufficient. “An easing can be ruled out for the time being,” added the SPD politician. If an overload of medical care is to be expected, “then of course other measures must be taken”.
“The number of cases will continue to rise” – as will the number of deaths, said Lothar Wieler, president of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). At the same time, it must be assumed that more and more cases are not known – since infected people show fewer symptoms, laboratories are overloaded and health authorities cannot follow up on reports. Like Lauterbach, Wieler campaigned for more vaccinations and protective measures: Wearing a mask is also an option in your own household.
Virologist Christian Drosten has warned that the population in Germany is already infected. Three million people over the age of 60 have not yet been vaccinated, and nearly nine million have not been boosted and are therefore not fully protected against the omicron virus variant, he said. But at some point you have to “let the virus run” because you can’t re-vaccinate the population over and over again. (14.01.2022)
The Federal Council initiates new quarantine rules
New quarantine regulations for corona infected persons and contact persons may arrive. After the Bundestag, the Bundesrat also approved a regulation on Friday that creates a legal framework for this. Among other things, it stipulates that triply vaccinated contacts of people infected with the coronavirus should no longer be quarantined. In addition, it allows for shorter quarantine times in the event of infections in order to avoid a collapse of personnel in important care areas when the number of infections rises sharply.
During the special session of the state chamber, Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) said that the pandemic had come to an “interface”. You are in third year. This raises the question of whether it will be possible to defuse the pandemic in such a way as to reach an endemic situation with only sporadic outbreaks and few deaths – or whether this opportunity will be missed. “We have to seize this opportunity and we have the means to do so. We have the means to largely end the pandemic in Germany this year.” (14.01.2022)
New highs in new infections and seven-day incidence
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reports a new record with 92,223 new corona infections after a negative record was recorded the day before. That’s 35,888 more cases than Friday a week ago, when 56,335 positive tests were reported. The national seven-day incidence rose to 470.6 from 427.7 the previous day. 286 people have died in connection with the virus. This brings the number of reported deaths to 115,337. So far, more than 7.83 million corona tests have been positive in Germany. (14.01.2022)
WHO recommends two other drugs for Covid-19 patients
A World Health Organization (WHO) panel recommends the use of drugs from Eli Lilly, as well as Glaxo Smith Kline and Vir Biotechnology, to treat patients with Covid-19. As of an im British medical journal According to the published report, WHO wants to expand treatment options with the recommendation. According to this, Eli Lilly’s drug baricitinib would improve the survival rate of hospitalized patients and reduce the need for ventilation. According to the WHO, GSK-Vir’s antibody therapy, which has already been shown to be effective against omicron in laboratory tests, is suitable for infected patients who are very likely to require hospitalization. (14.01.2022)
Omikron’s share in Germany increases to 73%
Omikron is now the predominant variant in Germany. The national share is now 73.3%, as reported by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in its weekly report. The spread of the delta variant, which has long dominated, is reduced to 25.9%.
A week ago, the RKI placed Omikron’s share in Germany at 44.3%. The spread is increasing in all federal states and is between eleven percent in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and 96 percent in Bremen. Fluctuations and differences also result from the different intensity of variant-specific testing in the different federal states, delays in the registration and transmission of laboratory diagnoses as well as the spread from metropolitan areas.
The RKI also reports a very high workload in the laboratories. “In order to ensure rapid diagnostic management of patients with Sars-CoV-2, it is urgent to prioritize tests in accordance with the national testing strategy,” explains the institute. The restrictions in testing capacities are mainly related to personnel, as laboratory workers are also affected by the high infection rate. (13.01.2022)