NewsSeven-day incidence over 500: how bad is that?

Seven-day incidence over 500: how bad is that?

The seven-day incidence is rising and rising. The 50 mark was once considered the critical limit – now the value is around ten times as high. What does that mean for Germany?

Berlin – The number of infections is only going in one direction at the moment: steeply upwards. The seven-day incidence reported by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) exceeded the 500 mark for the first time. Not too long ago, 50 was considered a critical threshold.

Now the value is more than ten times higher at 515.7. At the same time, large parts of the population have been vaccinated, and the rapidly spreading omicron variant is considered less pathogenic. This is another reason why the clinics and other important areas have not yet collapsed. But the question is what Germany will do if there is an incidence of more than 500.

Wieler: “New phase of the pandemic”

RKI President Lothar Wieler sees the rapid spread of the new Omicron variant as a “new phase of the pandemic” in which the number of cases will be less decisive than the number of seriously ill people. So far, however, the omicron wave has not had an impact on the intensive care units. The number of corona patients treated there has fallen from around 5000 to 2799 since the first half of December. According to the RKI, only about half as many people had to go to a clinic because of Corona as at the beginning of December – with quite stable values in the past few days. However, high numbers of infections are only reflected in hospitals and intensive care units after a delay, because it takes some time for admission.

Wieler warns that due to the mass of infections – Omicron spreads much faster than Delta – the number of hospitalizations and deaths is likely to increase again. But the crucial question is: How strong? With a view to intensive care units, Christian Karagiannidis, scientific director of the Divi intensive care register, says: “We are not likely to see a renewed increase in the number of intensive care patients in Germany so quickly.” While at Delta around every fifth corona patient who came to a hospital, needed intensive medical care, at Omikron it was only about one in ten.

concern for the elderly

For Karagiannidis, the question of the incidence – new infections per 100,000 inhabitants per week – in Germany in the coming weeks must be reacted to again depends largely on whether the omicron growth in Germany will also be as rapid as in other countries. “At the moment, I rather expect that we will get it dampened in this country, due to the comparatively good and strict measures, such as 2G plus.” However, not all questions regarding German peculiarities have been clarified: “It is unclear: what will happen if Omicron arrives at older and very old people? That still worries me,” he said. The incidences in Germany are currently significantly higher in young people than in older people.

In any case, Karagiannidis considers it possible to take countermeasures in good time as the load increases. “It doesn’t all explode after two days.” He does not currently expect that seriously ill people will have to be relocated within Germany again, as at the peak of the delta wave at the end of 2021.

If German experts want to get a feeling for a possible further course of the pandemic, they also look to Great Britain. Hardly any measures are slowing down Omikron there, and the incidence at times exceeded the threshold of 2000. It was around four times as high as in the alpha wave a year ago. However, the number of people who have to be artificially ventilated in the hospital is significantly lower: on average, this is currently around 800 patients per day, while a year ago this figure was around 4000 – i.e. around five times as high.

The doctor Azeem Majeed from Imperial College London still considers the number of infections to be an important indicator even in Omicron times. The vaccinations would have weakened the connection to the number of hospital admissions, but not completely broken them, he told the German Press Agency.

Due to the sheer mass of new infections, the pressure on hospitals in Great Britain, which has a population of 67 million, is still great. According to the Guardian, 24 hospitals have declared an emergency since the New Year. The military is deployed to plug the gaps. Thousands of emergency patients have had to wait hours for treatment in the past few weeks.

Quite a large vaccination gap in Germany

However, the situation in Great Britain is of course not directly comparable with that in Germany. In this country, the fairly large vaccination gap makes experts concerned. Should the intensive care units fill up again, politicians will have to react.

In addition to the clinics, special attention is also paid to other areas of the so-called critical infrastructure in view of the rapidly increasing number of infections. This includes, for example, the energy and water industries, where a total of around 282,200 people work, according to the industry association BDEW. The association cannot say how many of them belong to the key personnel, for example as experts in the fault clearance service or in control rooms.

Contingency plans in the companies are regularly checked and adjusted if necessary, explains the BDEW. “Especially for the core key personnel, there have been special precautionary protective measures since the beginning of the pandemic to prevent the entry and spread of infections,” it says. So far, however, no tightening has been necessary.

According to BDEW, for example, emergency shift plans with extended working hours or the division into teams that have no contact with each other are provided for emergencies. In addition, additional personnel have been trained for particularly important processes. “Even recently retired employees can be reactivated if necessary.” dpa

The Queen's Jubilee Cookbook

In the past, there was only fish and chips to go, write Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla in the foreword. They are very grateful for the change brought about by international influences.

The film releases of the week

Paris is all about love. The "Fantastic Beasts" are doing a third round and two documentaries are about nature and literature.

What Boris Becker expects in court in London

For decades, Boris Becker has been filling the gossip columns with love stories and breakups. Recently, his financial situation has increasingly come into focus. Theoretically, he could even be threatened with imprisonment.

Queen transfers Meghan's theater patronage to Camilla

The Queen makes it clear which women she relies on in the family: Duchess Meghan's patronage is divided. Duchess Camilla takes on more tasks.

Deep Water starring Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas

The director of thrillers like "A Fateful Affair" and "Unfaithful" hasn't made a film in 20 years. Now the Brit Adrian Lyne is back with "Deep Water".