One year after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic, the Robert Koch Institute is convinced that the third corona wave has started in Germany. “We have very clear signs of this: The third wave has already started in Germany,” said RKI President Lothar Wieler in an interview with the UN Journalists’ Association (ACANU) in Geneva. “I am very worried.” The strict application of protective measures such as wearing a mask and keeping your distance is still urgently needed despite vaccinations.
The vaccination campaign is a race against the mutating virus. The finish line is in sight: If there are no interruptions due to production downtimes or other reasons, 80 percent of the population could be immune to the virus by autumn. “If that is the case, all measures can be lifted,” said Wieler. He assumes that refreshments will be necessary after the first rounds of vaccination – at what intervals is still unclear.
The WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020. At the time, 118,000 infections had been reported worldwide and almost 4,300 people had died after being infected. A year later, according to WHO statistics, there are almost 120 million reported infections worldwide and a good 2.6 million deaths.
RKI reports more than 14,000 new infections
The Robert Koch Institute reports 14 356 new positive tests. That is 2444 cases more than on Thursday a week ago. In total, more than 2.53 million people have tested positive for the virus to date.
The seven-day incidence increased from 65.4 to 69.1 compared to the previous day. The value indicates how many people per 100,000 inhabitants have contracted the coronavirus in the past seven days. With the value of 69.1 on Thursday morning, the seven-day incidence rose again above the value of exactly four weeks ago: On February 11, the incidence was 64.2. The number of new infections in Germany fell significantly for weeks in January and February. However, it has recently stagnated, which could also be due to the spread of more contagious variants.
According to the new information, 321 more people died in connection with the virus. This increases the number of reported deaths within 24 hours to 72,810. Exactly one week ago, the RKI had registered 11,912 new infections and 359 new deaths within one day.
Merkel sees “three or four difficult months”
According to Chancellor Angela Merkel, the corona situation in Germany will remain tense until the summer. “These are now three or four difficult months: March, April, May, June,” said Merkel in a public digital conversation with employees of the helpline and crisis hotline. After that, the effects of the vaccination would become clear, said Merkel. “Then it will be much better, but at the moment every day is difficult. You can tell that in everyone.” Spring makes some things easier, but also lets you feel the restrictions more.
The Chancellor said the political handling of the crisis was characterized by uncertainty. “We’re trying to build the bridges now, but we don’t know exactly where we’re going to build them either. Well, we don’t see the bank either,” she said. “That’s the really difficult thing about a pandemic, that you don’t know the end.” During the great financial and banking crisis a few years ago, it was clear that the cause had to be eliminated and that the banks would have to be provided with money again. In comparison, much is unclear in the pandemic, said Merkel. “I also don’t know what else this virus is doing,” and whether there will be any further mutations.
During the one-and-a-half hour conversation, employees from telephone, mail and chat pastoral services reported on Merkel’s experiences. Several participants reported, for example, that in the pandemic, help from the environment of those seeking advice was partially lost and that offers of help from third parties were thinned out or more difficult to convey. Several of Merkel’s interlocutors also spoke of their concerns that social cuts would be made after the crisis.
Stiko-Chef lobt Sputnik V
The chairman of the Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko), Thomas Mertens, praises the Russian corona vaccine Sputnik V. “This is a good vaccine that will probably also be approved in the EU at some point. The Russian researchers are very experienced with vaccinations. Sputnik V is cleverly built, “said Mertens Rheinische Post (Wednesday). The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is currently reviewing the approval of the product. So far, vaccines from the manufacturers Pfizer / Biontech, Moderna and Astra Zeneca have been approved in the EU. On March 11, the EMA is expected to recommend approval of the vaccine from the US manufacturer Johnson & Johnson.
Mertens was “reluctant” to make a prognosis about when everyone who would like to be vaccinated in Germany will be vaccinated. “At least I hope that we will have the situation under control by autumn to such an extent that the effect of the vaccinations is clearly visible,” said the Stiko boss. There is already a massive drop in serious illnesses and deaths in old people’s and nursing homes.
Mertens was also “certain” that there would soon be a corona vaccine for children. Manufacturers are currently investigating in studies how their products work for them. Here, too, the chairman of the Stiko did not dare to make a forecast: “I’m not sure whether this will be anything this year,” he said. “Maybe we can start vaccinating the children by the end of the year.”
Seven large open-air festivals canceled due to Corona
Several major festivals in Germany and Switzerland will also be canceled this year due to the corona pandemic. This was announced by the event network, Eventim Live, on Wednesday. “Rock am Ring” at the Nürburgring, “Rock im Park” in Nuremberg, the “Hurricane Festival” in Lower Saxony and “Southside” in Neuhausen ob Eck in Baden-Württemberg are all canceled. The “Deichbrand” near Cuxhaven, “SonneMondSterne” in Thuringia near Saalburg-Ebersdorf and the Swiss “Greenfield Festival” are also canceled. “The organizers had to decide to cancel because of the uncertain infection situation,” said Eventim Live. For the employees and hundreds of thousands of fans, the concert events are canceled for the second time. All major events had already been canceled in summer 2020.
In the Eifel and Nuremberg, for example, the simultaneous traditional festivals “Rock am Ring” and “Rock im Park” were planned for the second weekend in June 2021 with headliners such as Green Day, System Of A Down and Volbeat. According to the responsible organizer, they should now take place again on the first weekend in June 2022. It was still unclear which headliners would be on stage. Soon, fans who have already purchased tickets this year or even last year will be able to rebook them online for 2022.