The number of reported deaths related to the coronavirus has surpassed the 1000 mark for the first time, peaking. Within one day, the German health authorities transmitted 1,129 new deaths to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), according to the RKI figures from Wednesday morning. In addition, 22,459 new infections were reported. Last Wednesday (December 23), 24,740 new infections and the previous high of 962 deaths were reported.
Before Christmas, the RKI had announced that the current figures were only partially comparable with the values of the previous week, as it expected a lower number of tests and fewer reports from the health authorities at the turn of the year. Still, the number of new deaths on Wednesday morning was significantly higher than a week ago.
The number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants (seven-day incidence) reported to the health authorities within seven days was 141.3 on Wednesday morning. Its previous high was reached on December 22nd at 197.6. However, the differences between the federal states are enormous: Saxony had the highest incidences on Tuesday with 330.0 and Thuringia with 255.1, Lower Saxony had the lowest value with 79.6.
The RKI has counted 1,687,185 detected infections with Sars-CoV-2 in Germany since the beginning of the pandemic (as of December 30th, 00:00). The total number of people who died with or with the involvement of a proven infection with Sars-CoV-2 rose to 32,107 by Wednesday. The RKI stated the number of those who had recovered at around 1,302,600.
According to the RKI report from Tuesday evening, the nationwide seven-day R value was 0.67 (Monday: 0.74). This R value means that 100 infected people infect 67 other people. The value represents the occurrence of the infection eight to 16 days ago. If it is below 1 for a long time, the infection process subsides. In its report, however, the RKI emphasizes that at the turn of the year, corona cases are only displayed, recorded and transmitted with a delay, “so that the R-value may also be underestimated”.
Spahn: Corona lockdown beyond January 10th
Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn (CDU) expects the corona protective measures to continue beyond January 10th. “As of today, the numbers are far from where we need to go,” said Spahn on Tuesday evening in the ARDDaily Topics. So there will no doubt continue to be action after January 10th.
“To what extent, we have to decide with the federal states at the beginning of January,” added the minister. It is foreseeable, however, that the numbers will not be so low by then “that we can simply return to the pre-lockdown mode”.
The current contact restrictions, which came into force on December 16, continue to apply until January 10. The aim of the nationwide restrictions is to reduce the number of new corona infections per 100,000 inhabitants to a maximum of 50 within one week. On January 5th, the heads of government of the federal states will hold another consultation with Chancellor Merkel.
Spahn has rejected criticism of the speed of the corona vaccinations that have started in Germany and of the amount of vaccine available. At the same time he defended in the picture-Zeitung the European route taken when buying the vaccine. “It’s tight for everyone,” said the CDU politician. Germany ordered a lot of vaccine. “The absolute amount ordered does little to change how much there is at the beginning, at the beginning when it is scarce.” Germany expects more than 130 million vaccine doses from the manufacturers Biontech and Moderna. “That alone would be enough in the next year to offer anyone who wants to be vaccinated.”
Spahn emphasized that Germany had made a conscious decision to “go the European route” in procuring the vaccine. This also precludes negotiating again bilaterally with the manufacturers in parallel. “If you say we’ll do something together, then I won’t start doing something on my own”. Germany buys up all vaccine doses that other countries from the EU quota do not take. He is very curious to see whether he will not be criticized in a few months for “that we have too much vaccine”.
Spahn called the debate on whether people vaccinated against corona should receive certain privileges such as access to restaurants “absolutely right and important”. There is a difference between state action and public services of general interest and the private-commercial sector. He was “torn back and forth on the question”, admitted Spahn. “I think we shouldn’t regulate too much.” However, he added that it was unclear whether people who had been vaccinated could continue to infect others. That makes “a very decisive difference”. He recommends waiting for the findings. In the public sector and in services of general interest, for example in hospitals, town halls or local public transport, from his point of view one could not distinguish between vaccinated and non-vaccinated people, said Spahn.
Coronavirus mutation detected in NRW
The mutation of the coronavirus, which was initially detected in Great Britain, has now been proven to have arrived in North Rhine-Westphalia. “The State Center for Health was informed by telephone yesterday afternoon by the RKI that the mutation of the coronavirus known from Great Britain had been detected in a person from the Viersen district and thus for the first time in North Rhine-Westphalia,” said the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of Health on Tuesday. The local health department is now investigating the case with the new additional information.
As the district of Viersen announced, the infected was a 58-year-old who fell ill at the beginning of December and has since recovered. The man was not infected in Great Britain, but from a colleague from the Czech Republic. In the past few days, the mutated coronavirus variant B.1.1.7 had also been detected in patients in Baden-Württemberg and Lower Saxony. According to scientists, it is significantly more contagious than the previously known version.
Hospital society warns of financial bottlenecks
The German Hospital Society is sounding the alarm in view of the corona-related operating restrictions: “If the federal government does not significantly increase aid, nationwide clinics will no longer be able to pay their employees’ salaries in the first quarter of 2021,” said the President of the Hospital Society, Gerald Gaß, of the editorial network Germany . “The money from the standard care is missing.” The hospitals only had limited financial resources.
Two thirds of all clinic operators expect losses in 2020 as a whole, as the current hospital barometer of the German Hospital Institute (DKI) shows, the one from Berlin Daily mirror (Tuesday) is available. 18 percent of the almost 2,000 clinics with 1.3 million employees rate their current economic situation as good.
In mid-December, the federal government opened a new rescue package for the hospitals. According to the concept of the Ministry of Health, they receive compensation payments in areas that are particularly exposed to corona if they forego postponed interventions and thus keep beds free. Of this, however, only 25 percent of the clinics are recorded, explained Gaß. The association president suggested that the clinics should receive their budget on a monthly basis based on 2019 and that they should be billed precisely at the end of 2021.
Criticism of the allocation system for vaccination appointments
The health policy spokeswoman for the Union parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Karin Maag (CDU), has criticized the appointment of the corona vaccinations. “It cannot be that you start a vaccination campaign and then cannot get any appointments,” said the Stuttgart member of the Bundestag Augsburger Allgemeine. She tried in vain to reserve a vaccination appointment for her 85-year-old mother via the nationwide patient service on 116117. She was referred to the cell phone app of the same name. “But appointments are not yet activated in the app.”
These are “rookie mistakes,” said Maag. “That annoys me.” According to the newspaper, the Federal Ministry of Health said that the federal states were responsible for vaccinations and appointments. “That is a country matter,” a spokeswoman is quoted as saying. According to her, the federal states can use the appointment system behind the patient number, but they do not have to. Some countries wanted to forward the appointment allocation to their own systems on 116117.
RKI: More than 18,000 people vaccinated
One day after the official start of vaccinations against the coronavirus, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) published the first figures on the campaign: According to this, more than 18,000 people have already been vaccinated. The total number of vaccinations on Monday morning was 18,454 (without Hesse, data as of December 28, 2020, 8:00 a.m.).
At the beginning of the campaign, residents of old people’s homes and nursing homes, people over 80 years of age as well as medical staff and nurses in homes and clinics will be vaccinated. Corona vaccinations were officially started in Germany on Sunday. Occasionally, however, people had already been vaccinated on Saturday.
Spahn against special rights for vaccinated people
Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) has spoken out against special rights for vaccinated people. “Many wait in solidarity so that some can be vaccinated first. And those who have not yet been vaccinated expect the vaccinated to be patient in solidarity,” said Spahn to the newspapers of the Funke media group on Monday.
“Nobody should claim special rights until everyone has had a chance to vaccinate.” This mutual respect holds the nation together. “We are fighting the pandemic together – and we will only overcome it together.” At the weekend, the vaccinations against the corona virus began in Germany. Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) also spoke out against special rights.
Ramelow and Schwesig expect the restrictions to be extended
Regardless of the nationwide vaccination start, Thuringia’s Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left) assumes that the strict corona restrictions that currently apply will have to be extended beyond January 10th. “If the prime ministers consult again on January 5th, there will be no signs of easing,” Ramelow told the editorial network Germany (RND) on Monday. It is “too early to give the all-clear”. He is preparing for “that we have to live with restrictions until March,” said the left-wing politician.
The Mecklenburg-West Pomerania Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig (SPD) also expects the lockdown to be extended. “We have to come well below an incidence of 50 to be in better waters again – and that will be a long way off,” she told im picture-Talk “The Right Questions” on Sunday evening. The vaccine gives hope and confidence, but should not make you reckless, added the Prime Minister.
Chancellery chief Helge Braun also considers an extension of the corona lockdown beyond January 10th to be likely. “I expect that on January 5th, when we meet the next time, we will not be able to assess the whole thing precisely and will therefore have to continue the lockdown,” Braun said in an interview with RTL / ntv.
Saarland’s Prime Minister Tobias Hans (CDU) also spoke out in favor of extending the tough lockdown at the beginning of January. The current infection numbers are deceptive, he told RTL / ntv. His impression is “that people have withdrawn a lot over Christmas.” But New Year’s Eve worries him. “I am very worried that New Year’s Eve will be celebrated. That must be stopped urgently.”
The seven-day incidence, which indicates the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants, is currently 157.8 nationwide. The current nationwide restrictions with the closure of shops, schools and kindergartens are currently limited to January 10th.