Daily Host Nation Stories July 13, 2020
Coronavirus can multiply in heart cells
Scientists at the University Heart and Vascular Center of the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) have proven that the coronavirus can also attack heart cells and multiply in them. For their study, the researchers examined 39 deceased heart patients infected with sars-CoV-2. “Until now, it was not known in how many cases Sars-CoV-2 also infects the heart and – if it does – whether it can multiply in heart cells and cause pathological changes there. With the results of the study now available, we have much more clarity,” says study director Dirk Westermann.
The scientists were able to detect the coronavirus Sars-CoV-2 in the heart tissue of about two thirds of the patients examined (24 of 39). In 16 cases they found the virus in quantities that could have had clinical effects. In five patients with the highest amounts of virus, the researchers identified the plus and minus strands of the virus genome. “This is the sign that the virus also reproduces in the cell in question,” said Westermann. However, whether this has an effect on the course of the disease cannot yet be conclusively clarified, says the UKE press release.
Long-term consequences are possible. The team of scientists had taken a closer look at the activity of six inflammation-promoting genes. In the 16 patients with the highest viral load, the activity of these genes was significantly increased. “This could have indicated the presence of heart muscle inflammation,” said Westermann. “Nevertheless, we were unable to find any typical signs of such an inflammation, such as the migration of inflammatory cells from the surrounding tissue into the heart muscle. Our results support the previous observation that myocardial inflammation associated with Covid-19 occurs only very rarely.” The altered gene activity in the heart cells caused by the infection could have long-term consequences for the health of those affected. In order to clarify this, the scientist says that in future, mass screenings of living Covid-19 patients is necessary. (Ntv, July 10)
Esken skeptical about school operation without social distancing
SPD leader Saskia Esken has voiced concerns about school lessons without distance requirements after the summer holidays. “I am very skeptical about the risk of infection, because the available studies do not give us any certainty that the danger among children and young people is insignificant,” Esken told the newspaper Handelsblatt. “Therefore, in my view, abandoning the distance requirement in schools now in the next school year is associated with a risk,” continued Esken. The state ministers of education had decided that all pupils should return to school as usual after the summer holidays and that the distance rule should be waived, “provided that the incidence of infection allows it.” (Handelsblatt, July 13)
Rush for study with corona vaccine
Approximately 4000 volunteers at the University Hospital of Tübingen have signed up as test persons for the study on the corona vaccine of the company Curevac. “We are in a luxury situation as no other clinical trial has ever been before. Otherwise we will have to fight for volunteers,” said Peter Kremsner, head of the study. In June, the University Hospital started a clinical trial to test the Tübingen-based biopharmaceutical company’s vaccine for its tolerability. Since then, around 50 people have received the drug. Kremsner last vaccinated between six and ten volunteers per day. According to the physician, no surprising side effects have yet been observed. In the first phase, 168 volunteers will be vaccinated. Curevac was the second German company, after the Mainz-based company Biontech, to receive approval for a clinical trial in the fight against the virus. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, July 13)
Study in blood donors shows low immunity
Initial results of a study on antibodies against the virus among blood donors has shown a low immunity among those studied. 12,000 people had been tested, antibodies were found in only 1.3 percent, said the president of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler, in Berlin. This interim result of the non-representative study shows that the majority of people in Germany have apparently not yet come into contact with the virus. This means, conversely, that it could still spread strongly. (Ntv, July 13)
Böblingen: The City-Center will be torn down
On Monday July 13 Böblingen’s 40-year-old city center building was torn down. The Böblinger Construction Company (BBG) is managing the project. How long the demolition will take, what difficulties are to be expected and what is to be built newly, BBG managing director Rainer Ganske gave detailed information about this in the SZ/BZ podcast “Willi und Dödel.” Rainer Ganske has been the managing director of BBG since 2016. A lot has happened since then, the BBG is currently busy with several large projects at the same time. “There is a lot going on at the moment”, says Ganske during his podcast. This week it’s getting really busy, the City Center is going down. Rainer Ganske: “Yes, exactly. But the demolition will certainly last almost until Christmas, because of course the materials have to be sorted.” (Boeblinger News, July 12)
Man disarmed Police officers and flees into the woods
On Sunday, an armed man threatened police officers in Oppenau (Ortenaukreis) in the Black Forest and took their weapons. The 31-year-old then fled into a forest area and is being sought by a large contingent of 200 officers, according to police in Offenburg. Besides special forces, helicopters were also deployed. The police cordoned off roads and called on the people around Oppenau to stay at home. It was said that it was impossible to judge exactly what danger emanated from the man. The 31-year-old German, who is probably dressed in camouflage patterns, has no fixed abode. He has had several conflicts with the police, among other things because of violation of the weapons law, they said. The police published an APB with a photo of the wanted man. The police had been informed this morning that a suspicious man was staying at a hut. When officers encountered him, they discovered that he was armed with a bow and arrows, a knife and a pistol. In some unexplained way, the man had managed to disarm the police before he escaped. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, July 13)
More than 2000 people demonstrate peacefully against racism
Countless hands move rhythmically through the air, some stretched out to their fists, while “We are the world, we are the children” resounds from the speakers. Axel Kampa alias AK2K and Marc Imam, an actor of DSDS, sing passionately along to the classic song with which the artist project “United Support of Artists” collected money for the famine in Ethiopia in 1985. The latter has hosted until then – it’s the conclusion of the second “Black Lives Matters” demonstration to show solidarity with George Floyd, who was killed by police violence in Minneapolis on 25 May. At the Cannstatter Wasen, where the rally took place this time, more than 2000 people gathered to demonstrate against racism – old, young, all skin colors, peaceful, with lots of verve and fitting DJ music like “Where Is the Love” by the Black Eyed Peas.
On the podium, women and men reported on everyday racism, which was taking place in real life, not only in the USA but also in Germany, day after day. It takes a lot of strength to be categorized differently again and again because of the color of your skin, and therefore to be labeled as unfair per se, said one young woman. For this she needs the help of everyone, the black and white sisters and brothers. “Yes” they shouted loudly when she asked: “Will you stand up against racism, will you not keep silent if someone in the family or elsewhere says or does something racist?”
Before that, the Filderstadt psychotherapist David Augustin had described how centuries before, his ancestors had had their knee pressed against their neck by the French colonial power like George Floyd. And how even today in Dresden black students did not dare to take to the streets. He hopes that the law in the city-state of Berlin, according to which discrimination in public service is to be punished, will now be adopted by other German states, Augustin said. Against racism, everyone must stick together, he stressed before quoting peace activist Martin Luther King: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”, i.e. “injustice in one place threatens justice in every other. There were no dispute throughout the Demonstration. (Stuttgarter Zeitung, July 12)
U.S. withdrawal: Economic consequences unknown
It is still unclear when and how the announced withdrawal of 9,500 U.S. soldiers from Germany will take place. However, the mere announcement of President Donald Trump’s plans had thrown the affected regions into turmoil. Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) spoke of a dramatic cut. Behind such statements, however, is no concern that Germany’s security could be endangered by the partial withdrawal. The U.S. troops are considered a significant economic factor. However, the authorities are unable to quantify the size of their economic footprint in this country.
Some 34,500 U.S. soldiers are stationed in Germany, a good half of them in Rhineland-Pfalz, the rest in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Hessen. According to the State government, the U.S. Garrison in Stuttgart alone comprises about 4,500 active soldiers. In addition, there are more than 28,000 military and civilian employees and their dependents. 450 of the civilian employees are Germans.
All these people are spending money, and the presence of U.S. troops also attracts investment and orders in the affected regions. Visits by U.S. tourists around the troop sites are also part of the economic balance. All in all, the U.S. presence is probably equivalent to a medium-sized city.
An inquiry with the Federal Ministry of Economics about the significance of the U.S. stationing for the economy does not provide any insight. A spokesman tried to inquire but didn’t receive a precise answer. The Federal Ministry of Finance asks to address the federal states with the question of the generated economic power. However, various jobs in Baden-Wuerttemberg must also be suitable. According to the State Ministry of economics, there are no findings.
Kretschmann’s State Ministry also does provide any figures. It only refers to the fact that the majority of the U.S. garrison members live outside of the troops’ area in more than 20 city and county districts in Baden-Württemberg, especially in Böblingen, Esslingen, Stuttgart, Ludwigsburg, Tübingen and Calw, shop there and participate in social life. In addition, the U.S. garrison is also economically significant for the region, in part due to “large-volume investment programs,” it is merely stated.
The search continues. The State Ministry of Finance recommends calling the State Statistical Office. However, even there, the question of the economic weight of the U.S. troops remains unanswered: “We don’t have any numbers.” From the point of view of statisticians, the members of foreign armed forces are not counted as residents of the country, so they do not appear.
However, what about the cost to the country? It was recently revealed that the federal government has paid almost one billion euros for the stationing of U.S. troops since 2010. In the country, the Ministry of the Interior is responsible, but even they do not have any figures. In a response by Interior Minister Thomas Strobl (CDU) to an inquiry by the AfD faction in March, it was stated that important revenues for both the public and private sector from the U.S. stationing would be offset by expenditures by the country. “Financial effects arise, for example, in state and local administrations and in the police field,” said the Interior Minister. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, July 13)
Warning – contaminated drinking water – affected areas: cities of Renningen and Rutesheim – Enterococci in drinking water
Affected region(s): Community/town: City of Renningen, City of Rutesheim. Health association recommends boiling of water and chlorination. A bacterial contamination of the drinking water has been detected. Chlorine is added to the drinking water. The concentration is not harmful to health. Chlorinated water is not suitable for aquariums. Chlorination ensures that consumers are supplied with hygienically safe water. Find out more in the media, for example on local radio. Only dial 110 (police) and 112 (fire department) in emergencies. Further Information: Water supply of the city of Renningen – 07159/924-145. (Emergency Information and News APP, July 13)