NewsExpert expresses massive criticism of study on corona risk...

Expert expresses massive criticism of study on corona risk in local public transport: "Technically grossly wrong"

A study examined the risk of a corona infection in public transport. The clients draw a positive conclusion. However, strong criticism comes from a method expert.

Update from May 20: The results of the study on the risk of corona infection in local public transport, which was commissioned by the federal states and the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV), ensured both in the industry and in large parts of politics Cheers. “For the first time, the Charité study provides reliable scientific knowledge about the actual risk of infection when using buses and trains for millions of passengers in Germany,” enthused Maike Schaefer (Die Grünen), chairwoman of the conference of transport ministers.

However, there is now clear criticism from statisticians who are not convinced of the robustness of the study. “How can it be that after 14 months of pandemic one approaches such a relevant issue in such a dilettante manner and is still proud of it,” said method expert Gerd Antes, outraged in an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung. He is considered to be one of the pioneers of evidence-based medicine in Germany. “We see here from the political side further evidence of the lack of any coordinated approach to relevant issues for coping with the pandemic,” said Antes clearly.

Study on the risk of corona infection in local public transport: Expert exercises massive criticism – “Technically grossly wrong”

The study, which was carried out in the Rhine-Main area, had a total of 681 participants. However, according to Antes’ estimates, studies with at least 1,500 test subjects per subgroup would have been necessary to prove equivalence of the risk of infection in the train, bus, car or bike. The study fundamentally violates applicable quality requirements “seriously”, wrote the method expert on Twitter.

“The study is massively underpowered. So technically grossly wrong, undetected difference to be interpreted as equality – not more infectious than elsewhere, ”Antes added in another tweet. That is a “massive overinterpretation of the results”. He also criticized the fact that the research was commissioned by the federal states and that the results were published in a press release by the VDV instead of in a publication.

Corona infection risk: study considers buses and trains to be safe

First report from May 10th: Cologne – where is the highest risk of being infected with the coronavirus? According to a recently published open letter from the Society for Aerosol Research to the federal government, the greatest danger is in enclosed spaces. It therefore seems reasonable to conclude that public transport could be a driver of the pandemic. However, there had previously not been a corresponding study. Now there is clarity.

The industry is currently soliciting passengers with a study it commissioned itself on the infection rate in local public transport. According to the Association of German Transport Companies, the risk of infection in buses and trains is no higher than in private transport. The public transport in the area of the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund was examined. The VDV asked the Charité Research Organization for the commissioned work, co-financed by Baden-Württemberg and ten other federal states. The institute is a subsidiary of the Charité and mainly conducts clinical studies.

For the study, the institute selected 681 participants without a previous corona infection. In February and March of this year, these were randomly and almost equally divided into individual traffic, i.e. individual trips by car. After the test phase, which lasted around five weeks, the subjects in both groups were tested for antibodies – a sign of a corona infection. These antibodies could be detected in the same number of participants in each group. The authors conclude from this that the risk of infection in everyday life does not increase with the use of local public transport. A Covid infection * was proven in a total of 26 study participants. Of these, twelve people were using local transport and 14 were traveling by car, bike or motorcycle.

Corona: “We now have scientific clarity for the passengers”

“We now have scientific clarity for passengers that the use of public transport compared to other means of transport is not associated with an increased risk of infection *,” said Baden-Württemberg’s Transport Minister Winfried Hermann (Greens *). In order to increase safety on buses and trains, however, all hygiene regulations would still have to be complied with. “The results of the study show that compliance with hygiene rules, frequent cleaning and ventilation of vehicles on the one hand and keeping your distance and wearing a mask * on the other hand are effective means of infection protection.”

The public transport of the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund also drew a positive conclusion: “For the RMV this means that the industry has taken the right measures from the start,” said a spokeswoman on the results of the study and the hygiene concept of the transport association. It is true that the diaries kept by the test persons do not reveal whether all passengers on the buses or trains actually obeyed the rules and mask requirements. The results confirmed, however, that it is just as safe for passengers in public transport as in private transport. In the meantime, the results cannot be directly transferred to longer journeys by train, which is why conclusions to this effect are lagging behind.

Corona in Germany: Mobility is on the rise again – “Home office duty seems to be fizzling out”

In November, the federal government * appealed to further restrict contacts and explicitly mentioned public transport. Specifically, it was said to “refrain from unnecessary stays in closed rooms with public traffic or unnecessary trips with public transport” as well as “leisure-related activities and visits to areas with public traffic”.

In the meantime, mobility has increased again in Germany, which is evident from the number of people who work in the home office. In April the proportion fell to just over 30 percent. “The stricter home office requirement in Corona times seems to fizzle out,” said Ifo home office expert Jean-Victor Alipour.

Corona and local public transport: Up to 90 percent – decrease in audience volume during the pandemic

The transport companies suffered high financial losses in the Corona crisis. You keep the offer almost completely upright. At the same time, the occupancy rate has dropped significantly. “During the phase of extensive restrictions on public life in the spring of 2020, the demand in local public transport fell by up to 90 percent,” said Sommer.

“In order to fulfill its mandate as part of the general interest and an important part of the transformation of the transport sector towards sustainable mobility for everyone, public transport has to be pandemic-friendly. That is important for the traffic turnaround and climate protection goals. ”(As / dpa) * is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA

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