Superspreader in the emergency shelter during the flood disaster? People who fear for their existence certainly have other worries than Corona. Nevertheless, the authorities appeal for vaccination.
Düsseldorf / Mainz – After the flood disaster, the affected federal states see increased corona risks because people could become infected during relief operations or in emergency shelters.
“At the moment, a lot of people are coming together in a very small space to overcome the crisis together. We now have to be careful that dealing with the disaster does not turn into a superspreader event, ”said David Freichel from the Corona communications staff of the State Chancellery in Rhineland-Palatinate to the editorial network Germany (RND / Tuesday).
Concerned about the spread of the pandemic in the Rhineland-Palatinate disaster area, the state government and district administration in the Ahr valley started a vaccination bus. Residents of the region can get vaccinated there without registering, as the Ministry of Health in Mainz announced. There is also the possibility of quick tests on the bus. Vaccination and testing are the most important precautions against an increase in infections, said a spokesman. “With infrastructure so badly damaged, the danger is there.”
A special vaccination campaign like in Rhineland-Palatinate is currently not planned by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, said a spokesman for the German press agency there and referred to the responsibility of the local authorities. The NRW Ministry of Health is providing the areas affected by the flood with additional vaccination contingents. “In particular with collective accommodation in emergency shelters, there is an increased risk of the spread of SARS-CoV-2 infections,” says the Ministry in Düsseldorf. If the local vaccination structures are not sufficient due to the consequences of the flood, the ministry offers support, for example through staff.
“The people in the disaster areas certainly have other concerns than the coronavirus at the moment, I understand that. If people now infect each other, especially in the emergency shelters, this puts additional strain on the tense structures on site, ”said NRW Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU). “That’s why we give as much vaccine as is needed in these regions.”
SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach warned against accommodating flood victims in collective shelters. “Mass accommodation is a danger for people because there is a high risk of corona infection there,” he told the newspapers of the Funke media group. Instead, flood victims should be accommodated in individual accommodation and hotels. “It would be fatal if the already dramatic situation in the flood regions were made even more difficult by massive infections with the delta variant.” He spoke out in favor of mobile vaccination teams in the disaster regions.
Meanwhile, the seven-day incidence in the areas particularly affected by the storm in North Rhine-Westphalia was at the low values of 3.8 in the Rhein-Erft district and 3.6 in the Euskirchen district. Throughout North Rhine-Westphalia, this value was 13.0 on Tuesday. Increased infections with the coronavirus, for example in emergency shelters, can only occur with a time delay.
In Rhineland-Palatinate, State Secretary Denis Alt (SPD) said that disaster relief “necessarily worked hand in hand”, “often without being able to fully comply with corona protective measures”. “With vaccinations and rapid tests, we want to offer those affected and the numerous helpers an unbureaucratic protection offer in order to keep the pandemic in the disaster area under control.”
In the district of Ahrweiler, too, the seven-day incidence – i.e. the number of new infections per 100,000 people registered within a week – was quite low on Monday at 3.8. In Rhineland-Palatinate, 46.4 percent of the population had been fully vaccinated by Monday. dpa