Sunday, November 28

Rising new infections: This is how Germany goes into the Corona winter

Status: 10/28/2021 3:59 p.m.

The number of new infections is increasing, the clinics are warning of overload, the vaccination campaign is barely making any headway: another hard Corona winter is imminent. But is Germany ready for that too? The most important questions and answers.

How is the situation?

The number of new infections is increasing sharply. The seven-day incidence is now 130.2. A week ago it was 85.6. At the same time, there is growing concern in hospitals that they will become overburdened. Currently lie loud Intensivregister around 1,800 people in the intensive care unit and almost 4,300 patients in the normal ward. For comparison: At the height of the pandemic in January, more than 5700 corona sufferers were treated in intensive care.

The German Hospital Society speaks of a “critical pandemic situation”. “If this development continues, we will have 3000 patients in intensive care again in two weeks,” said CEO Gerald Gaß. According to the World Medical Association, the staff in the intensive care units is working at the limit.

How great is the willingness to vaccinate?

A good 66 percent of people in Germany are now fully vaccinated. This shows effect despite the new infections: “If the population has a high level of vaccination, there are many more mild courses – they do not have to go to hospital, but many unvaccinated people are still seriously ill,” says the chairman of the World Medical Association, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, of the “Augsburg resident.” General “. Anyone who does not get vaccinated now, although he could do it, is risking his life and that of those around him. Montgomery advocates doing everything possible to increase vaccination rates.

One Study on behalf of the Ministry of Health shows that there are very different reasons why people do not get vaccinated against the coronavirus. However, two reasons are mentioned particularly frequently by non-vaccinated people: Most of them believe that the vaccines have not been sufficiently tested – around three quarters of them say that. They fear long-term consequences. On the other hand, many doubt that the vaccines will work. External pressure also plays a role for unvaccinated people.

If you believe the answers of the respondents, a new vaccine based on a classic active principle could increase their willingness to vaccinate. According to the survey, however, more pressure, for example through 2G regulations or the fact that corona tests have to be paid for, will not lead to an increase in willingness to vaccinate.

What about the booster vaccinations?

The vaccinations lose their effectiveness over time – and only a few have received an additional booster vaccination. The Standing Vaccination Commission recommends booster vaccinations for people aged 70 and over and people with a weakened immune system. It is also recommended for nurses and medical staff who have direct contact with patients and people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Doctors, patient advocates and politicians are calling for such vaccination boosters to be faster. The German Foundation for Patient Protection complains that the process is “sluggish”. After a good three months, only twelve percent of the over 70 year olds received a third vaccination offer, said board member Eugen Brysch of the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung”.

When could children also be vaccinated?

The incidence is increasing, especially in younger age groups. Pediatricians therefore rely on rapid Covid-19 vaccinations for children under twelve. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) wants to decide before Christmas whether it will recommend corona vaccinations for children between the ages of five and eleven. “We hope that in the next few weeks there will be European approval of the BioNTech vaccine for the age group of five to eleven years old, which will then also be adopted in Germany,” said the President of the German Society for Child and Adolescent Medicine, Jörg Dötsch , the newspapers of the Funke media group. Corona vaccinations in this age group would be “legally protected” even without an express recommendation from the Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO). The recommendation could then follow in the following weeks after carefully examining the data on side effects.

On Tuesday, an advisory body to the US FDA had spoken out in favor of emergency approval of the corona vaccine from BioNTech / Pfizer for children between the ages of five and eleven. The recommendation is not binding, but the FDA usually follows the experts. A final FDA decision is expected later this week.

Why should the status of the “epidemic situation” expire despite this development?

The possible traffic light coalition SPD, Greens and FDP no longer sees the prerequisites for an “epidemic situation”. According to the law, it exists “if there is a serious risk to public health in the entire Federal Republic”. However, that does not mean that there should no longer be any restrictions. Measures are needed in winter, emphasizes FDP parliamentary group leader Marco Buschmann. Nobody says the danger is over. “We expressly do not send this signal.”

Why is that important?

For the federal states and authorities, the Infection Protection Act is the legal basis for restrictions that they implement on site. The law lists a whole range of possible measures. So far, however, these have been linked to the fact that the Bundestag has established an “epidemic situation of national importance”. This first happened in March 2020 and has been confirmed several times, most recently at the end of August. It is automatically provided that this special situation ends after three months without a new Bundestag resolution. And this is exactly how it should come, according to the will of the SPD, Greens and FDP “at the end of November 24, 2021”.

What new regulation should come instead?

A transitional regulation should apply until the beginning of spring, March 20, 2022 – without the “epidemic situation” as a condition. These are, for example, requirements for mask compulsory and access rules for vaccinated, convalescent and tested people (3G), hygiene concepts, recording of contact data, requirements for schools. So far, the list is longer and includes exit restrictions or bans on tourist trips. This means that the countries still have a “toolkit” at their disposal, said Greens parliamentary group leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt – but no longer as generalized and far-reaching.

What else are the traffic light parties planning?

Regardless of the status of the special situation, other corona rules are to be extended to March 20 in the future: Employers in daycare centers, schools and nursing homes should continue to be able to ask whether they are vaccinated. Parents should continue to be entitled to compensation for loss of earnings if they look after their children because childcare facilities are closed. The easier access to the basic security is to be extended until March 20. The SPD, Greens and FDP want to establish and expand the intensive care bed register created during the crisis. A group of practitioners was also agreed to find ways to significantly speed up the corona vaccinations.

What’s next?

Implementation is not easy in the limbo so shortly after the federal election. For the time being there is a two-sided key issues paper. The Ministry of Health has already promised to help formulate a bill. The SPD, Greens and FDP are aiming for the Bundestag to deal with it on November 10 or 11. Committee consultations are also aimed for. Since there are not yet any specialist committees, this could be a case for an overarching “main committee” of the Bundestag. A special session of the Federal Council is also necessary, which normally does not meet until November 26th.

Sources: dpa / Reuters / afp / HSB

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