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Distance, hygiene, everyday mask: how well do the AHA rules really protect against infection? – Politics

Jens Spahn, of all people. ‘I know how careful he was always himself. That just goes to show how high the infection risk for everyone is today, ”tweeted SPD health politician Karl Lauterbach.

He expressed what many Germans probably thought when they heard about the corona infection from the health minister: if someone like Spahn is infected, can’t it affect everyone?

Even if the rules “keep your distance”, “observe hygiene” and “wear an everyday mask” are consistently applied, there is no complete protection. Those who created these AHA rules and in some cases enshrined them in law have never claimed so.

The whole point of the AHA rules is to significantly reduce the chances of someone getting infected. This should allow for a reasonably normal public, private and working life and prevent the health system from being overloaded by exponentially increasing numbers of sick people.

If the AHA rules are really followed, it probably works quite well. Nobody knows, however, because the word ‘everyday life’ is not only part of the mask, but also part of the overall situation. Daily life is complex and different every day and everywhere. It is impossible to quantify exactly the influence of each individual factor, such as actually wearing a mask.

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But the AHA rules are generally plausible. This is supported not only by the fact that in countries where the population and authorities apply them more consistently than in Germany, for example, the infection process is also much better controlled, for example in Taiwan. They are also based on virological and purely physical data.

The greater the distance from a person, the less concentrated the virus it transmits will reach the neighbor. Even lower virus concentrations, even if they are well above zero, reduce the risk of infection. And even if an infection does occur, it is very likely that with Sars-CoV-2, too, there is a chance that the infection will be mild or symptom-free.

Hygiene plays a minor role, but it still makes sense

Hygiene is likely to be less of a role than initially thought, as smears appear to be a less important route of infection than droplets and aerosols. It still makes sense. This is because other potentially serious infectious diseases such as influenza can be proven to be effective.

Daily masks and surgical mouth and nose protection – if worn tightly over the mouth and nose – can significantly reduce the pollution of the ambient air caused by an infected person. They also provide some protection for wearers.

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The request to ventilate as much and intensively as possible is also plausible. This also dilutes any pathogens that may be in the air.

In reality, a few more aspects are important:

1.) Anyone who interacts with other people all day – a politician in his day-to-day office, for example – is at higher risk, even if the rules are followed, than someone who only visits the AHA briefly every two days in accordance with the AHA rules Supermarket goes.

2.) As an individual, it is often impossible to actually implement the AHA rules – if others in the immediate environment ignore them.

3.) The rules are hardly implemented in the private sector. Infection is always possible here – even if the AHA rules adhered to in public should indirectly reduce the risk here too. And the head of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler, on Thursday described private sector infections as likely the main cause of the pandemic in Germany.

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