Balance of the new corona measures: is the lockdown too light? – Politics

From the perspective of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), it is still too early to assess the effects of the current partial lockdown. You have to wait, said RKI president Lothar Wieler in Berlin on Thursday. How quickly the infection process can be slowed down depends on people’s behavior.

Wieler again called for compliance with the measures: rules such as keeping a distance, wearing mouth and nose protection, hygiene and ventilation would accompany people for a long time. “We have to squeeze our butt for a few more months,” he said. It makes him cautiously optimistic that the numbers haven’t increased that much lately. “But we don’t know yet whether this is a stable development.”

What do you know about the sites of infection?

In many cases, it cannot be traced back to where people become infected. And even if those affected know where and from whom they were infected, this information is not always passed on to the Robert Koch Institute in Germany, so the place of origin remains unclear for at least 75 percent of newly reported infections.

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But there is a slew of studies to suggest that the pandemic is mainly caused by so-called “super-spreading events.” This means that a few infected people end up in situations or places where conditions are such that they infect many others: especially where several people stay in closed rooms for long periods.

This is the conclusion of an analysis by a research team led by Jure Leskovec of Stanford University in California, who analyzed demographics, information about the Covid-19 epidemiology, and anonymized data from cell phones in the US.

Computer models were able to study the contact behavior of about 98 million Americans in ten American metropolitan regions, such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.

The model simulates people’s stays in approximately 553,000 locations such as restaurants, fitness studios, churches or hardware stores so accurately that it accurately reflects the number of cases in Chicago between March and April based on contact behavior alone.

Simulations show, according to the researchers, that reopening restaurants without any restrictions on distance maintenance leads to the largest increase in new infections, followed by gyms, cafes and hotels. An opening of the restaurants on May 1 would have resulted in about 600,000 multiple infections within weeks, and each event would have infected 3.3 million people.

Can the results be transferred to other countries?

This is only possible to a limited extent – due to differences in contact behavior, for example in the frequency of restaurant visits. The models should be fed with local data.

But there are already comparable analyzes and models in this country, such as the “Modus Covid” project at the Technical University of Berlin, the “Model-based research on school closures and other measures to contain Covid-19”, in which mobility researcher Kai Nagel provides real movement data. van People use people to help politicians make decisions about areas of life that may be particularly relevant for contact with people and thus the infection process.

Current Berlin figures show that the virus mainly spreads in private households. According to a health administration list requested by CDU MP Christian Goiny, only 28 percent of all outbreaks in October could be assigned. Private households accounted for 54.7 percent, elderly and nursing homes 8.6 percent, hospitals 6.3 percent and schools and day care centers 4.1 percent.

Are the incidence values ​​of 35 and 50 still correct?

The meaning and purpose of the limit values ​​for containment measures was and is to prevent a situation where so many people receive Covid-19 that appropriate treatment can no longer be guaranteed, both from practice and in severe cases in hospitals and there. especially in intensive care units.

The problem is that the number of new infections only partially predicts when and how many intensive care patients to expect. According to previous experience, hospital admissions of Covid-19 patients began to pile up three weeks after they reached the 50 mark.

The idea of ​​allowing many more new infections per day and 100,000 residents on a weekly average instead of 50, or even only responding with store closings or other measures when the intensive care units are already full would reduce the risk of increase overload.

After a new infection, it takes a few days for the disease to manifest, and days pass before it gets worse enough to require hospitalization and transfer to intensive care. The now rising patient numbers are thus the result of infections before the lockdown started.

The right choice of the 50 limit is evidenced by the fact that the health authorities raised the alarm around the same time that they could not keep up with the follow-up of contacts with newly infected people and the imposition of quarantine measures.

No wonder: 50 new infections per day per 100,000 inhabitants means that a health department like the one in Steglitz-Zehlendorf is cautiously estimating 250 new cases, each of which has about ten to a hundred first contacts – i.e. 2500 to 25,000 cases to be treated per day. treated.

This cannot be achieved and means that not all infected people can be identified at this point – the definition of an epidemic that is “out of control”.

It will only become clear in the coming days whether the lockdown has come on time or too late, that is to say that more patients are arriving on the wards or whether the upward trend has in any case been broken. In any case, many stations now report that they are “at the limit”.

If this remains the case and if you want to use it as a measure for the “maximum exhaustion” of the health system, the warning value of 50 appears to be adjusted just enough. In any case, he is clearly not “too alarming” as claimed. Especially since it took politicians a few weeks to decide on and implement the “Lockdown Light”.

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