Under-recording during public holidays: Lauterbach assumes a significantly higher incidence

As of: 12/29/2021 4:12 p.m.

According to Health Minister Lauterbach, the incidence is two to three times higher than stated. The reason is the under-recording of corona cases during the holidays. And: The Omikron variant is becoming increasingly widespread.

Corona case numbers and the seven-day incidence in Germany are falling – but that is probably just a false certainty. Because during and after the holidays, numerous cases are not recorded. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach even assumes that the incidences are up to three times higher than stated. “The actual incidence is currently probably two to three times as high as the incidence we are recording,” said the minister in Berlin. The reason for this drastic under-recording is that significantly fewer tests are carried out over the holidays – and significantly fewer of these test results are then transmitted to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) than usual.

“Significant under-reporting: Actual incidence two to three times as high as measured,” Health Minister Lauterbach

tagesschau24 3:00 p.m., 29.12.2021

Concern about Omicron

But that did not end the bad news Lauterbach had to deliver. The minister said he was particularly concerned about the rapid expansion of the omicron variant. The RKI had recently reported an increase in Omikron cases of 26 percent within 24 hours. The authority assigns a total of 13,129 infections to the Omikron variant – the number of unreported cases is likely to be high, however.

The increase indicates that Omikron is playing an ever greater role in the infection process in Germany, said the modeler Dirk Brockmann from the Humboldt University of Berlin to the dpa news agency. In northern German cities such as Hamburg and Bremen, the variant already plays a major role. In Schleswig-Holstein, more than 50 percent of corona infections since the day before Christmas Eve are suspected cases of omicron.

Figures from other European countries also suggest that the number of Omikron cases is skyrocketing. France, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece recently saw a record number of new cases.

“Do not underestimate the danger”

Lauterbach once again urged the population to pay attention to distance rules and to reduce contacts wherever possible. This is especially true for New Year’s Eve. “Please celebrate in a very small group and do not endanger each other. Because the currently reported incidence of cases underestimates the danger we are currently in,” warned the minister. At the same time, Lauterbach again promoted the booster campaign: While two vaccinations provided insufficient protection, the effectiveness against Omikron was significantly increased after a third vaccination. The protective effect occurs just one week after the prick.

Government: Solid data soon

However, the federal government expects that there will soon be more meaningful data on the corona situation. The Ministry of Health announced that at the beginning of the new year they wanted to have very up-to-date data again. It is assumed that valid data will then also be available for the Prime Minister’s Conference with Chancellor Olaf Scholz on January 7th.

Study: Omikron will hit the catering and retail sectors hard

According to calculations by the Institut der Deutschen Wirtschaft (IW), the tightening of the corona measures to combat the Omikron variant threatens to leave deep traces, especially in the hospitality industry and in stationary retail. In stationary retail, around six billion euros in sales were lost per month, the researchers forecast. Part of the business is migrating to online trading. Significant losses can also be expected in the catering sector.

According to IW, the corona virus has already severely damaged the German economy. According to the Institute’s calculations, around 335 billion euros in value added have been lost so far, 190 billion euros of which last year and 145 billion euros in 2021. According to the experts’ calculations, another 35 billion euros would have been added in the first quarter of 2022 without Omikron.


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