Corona news in ticker: saxony lets more fans into stadiums

The RKI reports on Tuesday 162.613 new corona infections and a Germany-wide incidence of 1206.2. The incidence jumps from peak to peak in the process. According to the RKI, another value in addition to the infection number now comes into focus. All news on the Corona pandemic can be found here in the news ticker.

News on Corona from 1. February 2022

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  • News, service and ideas on the pandemic can be found at in our overview.
  • Official statistics – excess mortality in Germany 2022

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Lauterbach wants to decide on convalescent status again himself in the future

22.55 o’clock: According to information from "Business Insider", Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) wants to decide on the validity period of the convalescent status himself again in the future. This is Lauterbach’s reaction to criticism in the federal and state governments of the Robert Koch Institute’s (RKI) short-term and arbitrary decision two weeks ago that the status is only valid for three months instead of six months.

Only on Monday, the states at the conference of health ministers (GMK) had called on Lauterbach to decide for himself again in the future instead of the RKI. From the Federal Ministry of Health it is now said on Tuesday, one takes the resolution of the GMK very seriously. In Lauterbach’s house one refers however also to the fact that the Lands of the Federal Republic in the Bundesrat had given actually their blessing for the division of labor between Ministry and RKI.

According to information from circles of the traffic light parties, the ministry now wants to draw changes of the protective measures exemption regulation again to itself. When asked, the ministry says it would "of course be prepared" to regulate individual decisions such as the convalescent status again by decree. Officially, however, Lauterbach has not yet withdrawn the RKI from this task again. Health policymakers expect decision by end of this week.

Biontech/Pfizer seek approval in U.S. to vaccinate under-5s

22.44 hrs: Biontech/Pfizer are seeking emergency approval in the U.S. for their vaccine for children ages 6 months to 5 years, the companies announced Tuesday. They hope to have it approved by the end of February, reports CNN. The vaccine is already approved for children 5 and older and would be the first Covid 19 vaccine available for the youngest children. Companies continue to test triple dosing of vaccine in this younger age group.

In December, Biontech/Pfizer extended testing in younger children after two doses failed to produce the expected immunity in 2- to 5-year-olds – but did in babies up to age 2. For people 12 and older, P’s vaccine dose is 30 micrograms; for children ages 5 to 11, it has been lowered to 10 micrograms. Dose for youngest children is even lower: 3 micrograms per dose.

U.S. nurses snag $1.5 million selling fake vaccination cards

22.5 p.m: Two New York nurses allegedly made $1.5 million selling fake vaccination cards, several U.S. media outlets report. The women also reportedly entered the names of buyers into an official vaccination database as well. For that, prosecutors said they collected $220 (195 euros) for adults and $85 (75 euros) for children. They blew the whistle because a police officer went undercover to get one of these vaccine passport fakes.

In a nurse’s home, police investigators found 900 during a search.000 dollars cash. In a notebook, the women recorded $1.5 million in revenue from November 2021 to January 2022. Both women were charged.

Drosten does not expect situation to ease until after Easter

21.34 pm: Virologist Christian Drosten does not expect the Corona situation to ease until after Easter. "One thing that hasn’t changed is the vaccination gap. The vaccination rate in Germany has even recently dropped again,", says Drosten. Expected to remain on hold until Easter, when temperatures are expected to rise. "We clearly have the finding that the transfers are being fed by the school system at the moment. That’s where the Easter vacations will put the kibosh at the latest", says Drosten. "In addition, it will be warmer after Easter and the incidence will probably not pick up as much steam."

In addition, he points out that the BA variant.2 from Omikron could have an even higher transmissibility than the subtype BA currently prevalent in Germany.1. On the basis of new data from Denmark, he assumes that BA.2 could possibly have a so-called fitness advantage and thus an increased transmission ability, said the scientist from the Berlin Charite on Tuesday in the podcast "Coronavirus Update" at NDR-Info.

Drosten explained the assumed difference between the two subtypes with the metaphor of two cars and said with regard to BA.2: "The engine, it already has a few horsepower more." At BA.1, on the other hand, he said he believes the variant may be evading the body’s immune response, which is why it is spreading so quickly. The data from the Danish preprint suggested that the risk of infection in BA.2 was significantly higher than for BA.1. The risk of passing on the virus is also greatly increased in infected unvaccinated persons, but reduced in vaccinated contacts.

Virologist Drosten sees omicron variant as opportunity

The proportion of BA.2 in Germany is still "very low," according to the latest weekly report from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Germany with 2.3 percent in the second week of the year (week before: 1.4 percent). The RKI writes about the subtype: "Internationally, it is observed that BA.2 more widespread than BA.1". This affects Denmark and the United Kingdom, for example. Drosten said on the podcast that while the percentage of BA.2 probably also rise in Germany – but probably slower than in other countries because of the current infection control measures. But it is not yet possible to predict more precisely because of the paucity of data.

Charite no longer treats Corona-infected patients in Covid wards as a matter of principle

18.05 a.m: At Berlin’s Charite hospital, Corona-infected patients will no longer generally be treated in special Covid 19 wards in the future. As rbb24 learned exclusively on Tuesday, the affected people are to be isolated decentrally on the respective specialist ward from Wednesday onwards, if they have actually come to the hospital because of another illness.

"Through this organization, patients can be treated immediately even if the number of cases in the specialist area of their underlying disease increases", company spokesman Markus Heggen explained. "This does not include treatment in intensive care units, which continues to be centralized."

Charite is responding to the increasing number of corona cases as a result of the Omikron variant. Until now, specialists had to go to the corona ward to treat their patients, for example, in the event of a broken leg or a ruptured appendix.

Covid 19 situation at the university hospital remains tight, Heggen said. An increasing number of employees are in isolation or quarantine. The situation can only be managed, he said, because all scheduled procedures have been canceled.

Before mandatory vaccination: 12.000 caregivers report looking for work

The German Federal Employment Agency is putting a stop to the introduction of a facility-based Corona-Vaccination obligation in the health service movement on the job market firmly. From the health and social care sector in December and January would have 25.000 more people registered as jobseekers than usual, said board member Daniel Terzenbach in Nuremberg on Tuesday. Jobseekers are people who report impending unemployment to the employment agency but are still in the job, a spokesman for the federal agency explained. Compulsory vaccination in the health and social care sector is to be introduced on 16. March in force.

"We are already seeing an increase, but overall at a level that we all don’t have to worry about", said Terzenbach. He spoke of about 25,000 people from across the health and social care sector who had registered as looking for work above the usual level, about 12 of them.000 from care. Whether the increased number is due in part to related calls on social media is unknown at this time, he said. A spokeswoman for the federal agency said there had been calls on various social media for people to register for jobs in the health care system before the vaccination requirement went into effect.

WHO warns governments against ending Corona measures too soon

16.50 h: World Health Organization (WHO) warns against premature end to Corona protections. It would be premature to consider the virus defeated, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Tuesday in Geneva. Since the emergence of the Omikron variant about ten weeks ago, nearly 90 million new infections have been reported – more than in all of 2020, he said. "We are now seeing a very worrying rise in death rates in most regions of the world."

The WHO is concerned that some governments no longer see the need to further reduce the risk of infection through regulations such as wearing a mask or keeping a distance. The reason for this is that vaccination rates are relatively high and Omikron infects a large number of people, but causes few severe courses of the disease. This is completely wrong, said Tedros. "This virus is dangerous, and it continues to change right before our eyes."

Countries with high vaccination rates and good health systems, however, may soon be nearing the end of the acute phase of the pandemic, WHO emergency coordinator Mike Ryan said. But each government must consider its vaccination rate, as well as the immunity within the population after it has been through infection and the strength of the health care system, he said. Particularly vulnerable people should continue to wear masks – even if this is no longer mandatory.

Denmark lifts Corona restrictions

Recovery status ends in Berlin after all after three months

16.29 p.m: People in Berlin will generally only be considered recovered for three months after a Corona infection in the future. Previously, according to the Berlin Infection Protection Ordinance, it was six months. The Senate has adjusted the deadline to the regulation of the federal government, which had decided in mid-January to shorten the period, as Health Senator Ulrike Gote announced on Tuesday.

Previously, the two regulations applied to different areas side by side. This had caused irritation and criticism in Berlin. The Senate has amended Berlin’s infection control ordinance accordingly. The convalescent status ends, for example, for public transport users according to the federal infection control regulation applicable there after three months. In contrast, the six-month period in areas covered by Berlin’s ordinance, such as restaurants.

Saxony lets more fans into stadiums: occupancy rate 25 percent

15.55 a.m: Saxony’s new Corona ordinance lets more fans back into stadiums. As Health Minister Petra Kopping (SPD) announced on Tuesday after the cabinet meeting, the stadiums can again be filled to 25 percent of seating capacity. There is no upper limit, so larger arenas can admit more spectators than smaller ones. Under the scheme, about 11 could be vaccinated in the stadium of Bundesliga soccer team RB Leipzig.000 fans to be present at games.

At the second division clubs Dynamo Dresden and Erzgebirge Aue there are about 8000 and 4000 respectively. A maximum of 2,000 spectators are allowed at events in smaller sports venues, with a 50 percent occupancy rate. The regulation applies as long as the overload level in hospitals is not exceeded.

Kretschmann Sees no chance for end of Corona restrictions before Easter

12.58 o’clock: Baden-Wurttenberg’s Minister President Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) sees no chance of an end to Corona restrictions until at least mid-April. He does not see a debate about exit strategies before Easter at all, the head of government said in Stuttgart on Tuesday. "We’re not going to start a debate about exit strategies – that would be completely inappropriate and send the wrong signal."

Baden-Wurttemberg's Minister President Winfried Kretschmann speaks at a press conference

For example, Baden-Wurttemberg recently tightened rules, Kretschmann said, referring to the FFP2 mask requirement in public transport. This will not be achieved by "baseless exit debates" counter. One is still in a dramatic situation.

Seven-day incidence of new Corona infections is below 1000 in only 5 of 44 urban and rural counties in the Southwest. Intensive care units in the state are currently treating 274 covid sufferers. The number of Corona-infected people who came to a hospital within a week and per 100,000 inhabitants is 4.8. There are currently about many complaints of overburdened doctors’ offices, says Kretschmann.

About 12.000 more care workers than usual have registered as looking for work

10.52 h: Germany currently have about 12.000 more nurses than usual registered as seeking work. In total, he said, 25 health and social services.000 more job seekers than usual, Daniel Terzenbach, a member of the board of the Nuremberg-based Federal Employment Agency (BA), said Tuesday when presenting the labor market report for January. This, he said, affects about one percent of the industry’s workforce – about 12.000 of the 25.000 are nursing staff.

The German Nursing Council had already warned the past few days that because of the facility-based Corona vaccination obligation for clinics and homes, staffing problems are coming to the industry. The president of the Nursing Council had said in an interview that there were so few staff that the industry could not afford for even one person or one person to quit. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD), however, rejected a suspension of the vaccination obligation.

  • Read also: Occupation-related vaccination obligation from mid-March – Unvaccinated persons in the health sector may continue to work for the time being despite vaccination obligation

Streeck sees end of Omikron wave approaching: "Are on a very good course"

06.48 a.m: Virologist Hendrik Streeck has expressed optimism in a recent assessment of the Corona situation: "I think we are on a very good course right now", he said in an interview with Pinar Atalay on "RTL Direkt" on Monday evening.

One can already see from the R-value that the growth in the number of infections is declining. Streeck also said, "In two to three weeks we will have this reversal and then you should also think about openings."

Hendrik Streeck

While Streeck speaks thus of relaxations, the policy remains still reserved. At the moment it is "still a bit premature", already to take this step, said government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit on Monday for example.

Streeck commented at "RTL direkt" also on the statement by Baden-Wurttemberg’s Minister President Winfried Kretschmer (Greens) that scientists should not give political advice.

Streeck said: "Unfortunately, science has become political. The virus has become political." To the vaccination obligation he could not comment politically, but very well virologically. "And there I have also quite clearly said why I see this aspect of the vaccination obligation, even if I understand it politically and emotionally, critically. Because the virus mutates so often that the vaccine is rather a self-protection and no foreign protection and for many other reasons."

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